"The US National Space Policy released by the president in 2006 states that the US government should 'develop space professionals.' As an integral part of that endeavor, AU-18 [Air University], 'Space Primer', provides to the joint war fighter an unclassified resource for understanding the capabilities, organizations, and operations of space forces. Historically, the United States has been a world leader in space exploration and use. In 2001, the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization unanimously concluded 'that the security and well being of the United States, its allies, and friends depend on the nation's ability to operate in space.'1 Recent conflicts and world events continuously demonstrate the importance of space assets and capabilities to our security functions. Our navigation satellites provide instant pin-point positional and targeting information to aircraft, ground forces, ships, and command centers. These same satellites provide a precise timing source around the world that is critical to maintaining infrastructures, including financial institutions, power grids, cell phones, and even our cable and satellite TV. Communications satellites provide global connectivity between all levels of our national security infrastructure. Weather satellites report meteorological data, better than ever before, in near real time directly to forces in theater. Early warning satellites detect and report missile launches and serve as both strategic and tactical theater warning. These same early warning satellites serve to cue the integrated missile defense system. Finally, the US government conducts satellite photo reconnaissance that includes near-real-time capability, overhead signals intelligence collection, and overhead measurement and signature intelligence collection, which contribute directly to the success of our war fighters. This primer is a useful tool both for individuals who are not 'space aware'--unacquainted with space capabilities, organizations, and operations--and for those who are 'space aware,' especially individuals associated with the space community, but not familiar with space capabilities, organizations, and operations outside their particular areas of expertise. It is your guide and your invitation to all the excitement and opportunity of space."
National Space Studies Center: http://space.au.af.mil