A novel based on the actual events of Erik B. Scott's murder on July 10, 2010, in Las Vegas, NV. When Las Vegas police officers unwittingly gun down a West Point graduate and current covert operations agent, then try to cover up their crime, they unleash the fury of Checkmate, a highly classified "black world" agency. It's an asymmetric war corrupt cops and their allies cannot win — and if Checkmate fails, America will erupt in armed revolt.

Inside U.S. Strategic Command, top military commanders, space-company executives, and U.S. intelligence experts are conducting a DEADSATS II wargame, exploring how the loss of critical satellites could lead to nuclear war. The players don't know that the war they are gaming has already begun, miles above them in the lifeless, silent cold of space. Jam-packed with the actual systems and secret technologies the United States has or will soon field to protect its space assets, Space Wars describes a near-future nuclear nightmare that terrorists will relish but politicians prefer to ignore. In a quieter, more peaceful time, Space Wars would be an exciting work of fiction. But with the United States now at war, Space Wars is all too real.

When North Korea detonates a nuclear weapon at the edge of space, silencing dozens of satellites, rogue nations seize a unique opportunity to strike. Overnight, national leaders robbed of spy satellite imagery are making decisions in the blind. An Iranian missile threatens to destroy Israel; a Venezuelan “research” satellite jeopardizes the lives of three astronauts, and tech-savvy terrorist cells unleash back-to-back horrors in California. The White House turns to U.S. Strategic Command and its team of Deadsat II wargamers, racing the clock to stave off international disaster. But power-hungry officials are undermining those attempts. With a B-2 bomber minutes from obliterating a Chinese laser-weapon site, and two U.S. aircraft carriers in China’s missile crosshairs, two great nations stand at the brink of nuclear war.

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Honoring the Challenger Seven

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Space Shuttle Challenger Astronauts – 28 January 1986

Thirty-three years ago today, a dear friend and colleague, Colonel Ellison Onizuka, died in the horrific explosion that destroyed space shuttle Challenger and killed seven astronauts, including teacher Christa McAuliffe. El was one of America’s finest—an accomplished astronaut, flight test engineer and Air Force officer. The native Hawaiian joked that he never wore shoes, until he started school, yet ultimately secured masters degrees in engineering from the University of Colorado and graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School. El also was a devoted husband and father, and always made time to coach kids’ baseball and basketball teams.

         Consequently, El would be both excited and humbled by today’s Challenger Learning Center of Colorado (CLCC), one of 50 such centers launched by families of the astronauts who perished on shuttle Challenger. Dedicated to spurring student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the CLCC will move to a $4 million, 10,500-square-foot space science facility this fall. 

         In a January 7, 2019, story, The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Debbie Kelley reported that the Center had received a $100,000 donation from the El Pomar Foundation to underwrite a stunning atrium. El Pomar joined an impressive list of corporate and private donors that ensures the new Center will be a world-class model of advanced education, featuring a planetarium, simulators, a “Maker Space” and enough room to double the number of students it now handles. A current campaign to raise $16,000 will equip the Mikkelson Planetarium with 40 specialized seats. Each $400 chair will be personalized with the sponsor’s name. Astronauts Kevin Chilton and Gary Payton purchased the first two, and the rest are going fast.

         The local Challenger Center has provided almost 200,000 kids with hands-on, space-oriented experiences, since it opened in 2002. Over the next 50 years, another two million Colorado students will have the same opportunity, thanks to the generosity of local companies and private citizens. 

         El Onizuka’s roots were in the coffee fields of Hawaii, but his heart was in Colorado—and in space. After his first shuttle mission, he confided, “If anything ever happens, know that I’m doing exactly what I want to do.” I also know he would take great pride in the new CLCC facility and by Colorado’s stellar support of its students. Some of them may walk on Mars. In El’s memory, my sincere thanks to all who are serving and supporting the new Center, thus honoring the courage and indomitable spirit of the Challenger Seven. 

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