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The Real Upcoming Space Wars?


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Posted on Feb 14, 2010 11:02:22 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"So what exactly ARE the 200 lbs. of equipment an "exoskeleton" soldier will be carrying?"

Whatever the mission requires. It may simply be a large backpack to allow the soldiers to operate in terrain independent of support vehicles for an extended period of time. This would reduce reliance on supply by air or ground, especially in terrain where vehicles cannot operate easily or where an airdrop or helicopter landing would widely advertise the location of the troops.

"With drones now equipment with mini-missles, why would our foot soldiers be required to carry heavy missile launchers and missiles?"

Drones are only useful weapons platforms in a subset of tactical situations: deploying missiles against a target in an open space. A drone, at whatever altitude it flies is likely to be detected more easily than troops deployed on the ground. There can also be issues with the remote pilot of a drone accurately identifying the target; drones as autonomous weapon systems are some way off and will have additional issues with target recognition.

In many situations a shoulder launched or frame launched missile is an ideal way of enhancing infantry firepower against an aircraft, armored vehicle or fortified structure.

Posted on Feb 14, 2010 1:55:51 PM PST
Thanks for the explanation, MH.

Here's a recent U.S. military action I'd like you and Walter to explain to me. A Feb. 11, 2010 article on Jane's Defence Weekly, states that the "United States Air Force has decertified a nuclear warheads squadron at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. Following an inspection of nuclear facilities by the AF Materiel Command."

What does that "decertification" entail? Are the nukes removed from the whole base, or just that squadron? Does this happen a lot, or is this a rarity?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2010 2:31:09 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"What does that "decertification" entail?"

The designated unit is no longer certified to oversee a cache of warheads; this should be temporary to allow for training and re-certification. Generally certification is lost due to problems in following equipment handling procedures identified by an inspection.

"Are the nukes removed from the whole base, or just that squadron?"

The squadron ceases to have responsibility for the munitions. Another unit is assigned to take over their duties.

"Does this happen a lot, or is this a rarity?"

Three times since 2003:

* Nuclear cruise missiles were mistakenly loaded onto a B-52 bomber and flown to Louisiana.

* A ladder was left inside a missile tube as a nuclear missile was being lifted from the tube on a Trident submarine.

* Electrical fuses designed for use on intercontinental nuclear ballistic missiles accidentally shipped to Taiwan; the fuses were shipped back.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2010 4:21:19 PM PST
To Marilyn Martin:
RE: "Thanks for the explanation of how comm equipment has improved and been miniaturized for the foot soldier."

You're welcome.

RE: "So what exactly ARE the 200 lbs. of equipment an "exoskeleton" soldier will be carrying?"

First, a soldier's combat load has always been a significant percentage of his body weight. You might have seen reliefs of Roman soldiers on the march, showing them carrying HUGE packs on their backs or slung on poles between two or four soldiers. I don't know exactly what "the 200 lbs. of equipment an "exoskeleton" soldier will be carrying" will consist of. However, here's a link to a PDF file that describes in exhaustive detail the American soldier's combat load: http://thedonovan.com/archives/modernwarriorload/ModernWarriorsCombatLoadReport.pdf.

Posted on Feb 15, 2010 8:11:42 AM PST
Thank you, Walter and MH, for your interesting and lucid answers and explanations.

Posted on Feb 15, 2010 11:48:57 PM PST
cybertext says:
This is pretty cool stuff. Make a game out of it, and we'll all pvp with "...REVERSE ENGINEERING ET UFO SPACE-TIME MANIPULATION --- THE ULTIMATE WEAPON..."

What's it look like? Can I dual equip them? :)

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 11:26:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 23, 2010 11:33:16 AM PST
Here are some links to interesting articles about the "weaponization of Space":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNAP-10A
In 1965, the U.S. launched the first and possibly only nuclear reactor into orbit. It supposedly failed and the reactor core was shut down. It's still in orbit, however, and will be for about 4,000 years. (Maybe it's been secretly repaired?)

http://www.geneva.mid.ru/disarm/doc/CD1780-ENGLISH.pdf
This is a Russian and Chinese "Working Paper" from 2006: "Existing International Legal Instruments and Prevention of the Weaponization of Outer Space". This paper's conclusions are that the then-existing treaties were inadequate to prevent the weaponization of space.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/12/nasa-bombing-the-moon-opinions-contributors-kenneth-anderson-glenn-harlan-reynolds.html
There were plenty of rumors and conspiracy theories about NASA's recent moon-bombing. According to the rumors, the moon-bombing was really a weapon's test, disguised as a scientific mission. The above article, from last October, intelligently discusses the more pressing threats to a "weaponized Space" - IEDs in orbit.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2010 12:07:09 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"In 1965, the U.S. launched the first and possibly only nuclear reactor into orbit. It supposedly failed and the reactor core was shut down. It's still in orbit, however, and will be for about 4,000 years. (Maybe it's been secretly repaired?)"

Since 1979 SNAP-10 has been observed to be disintegrating, with many objects separating from it. Given its injection into a higher orbit with an altitude of 1300 km no manned missions have approached that distance since the last Apollo mission in 1975; the space shuttle can only reach 695 km, and the highest any have ever been was about 615 km. No one could reach SNAP-10A to repair it, secretly or otherwise.

"There were plenty of rumors and conspiracy theories about NASA's recent moon-bombing. According to the rumors, the moon-bombing was really a weapon's test, disguised as a scientific mission."

LCROSS and the Indian MIP were both kinetic impactors, and relatively minor compared with the concepts for exoatmospheric kill vehicles such as Project Thor.

"intelligently discusses the more pressing threats to a "weaponized Space" - IEDs in orbit."

Using a satellite as an 'IED' is something of a no-brainer given the investment to launch it and the limited capability to manoeuver to other orbits to intercept a target. The Russian Istrebitel Sputnikov (IS) program was a working anti-satellite system but was cancelled in 1983; it was designed to damage enemy satellites with shrapnel. The US, Russia, China and potentially soon India all have more conventional ASAT weapons that use kill vehicles launched by missile from Earth.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2010 10:50:55 AM PST
To Marilyn Martin:
RE: "In 1965, the U.S. launched the first and possibly only nuclear reactor into orbit...It's still in orbit, however, and will be for about 4,000 years."

I'm afraid that's just not true. The following are a few links regarding nuclear reactors in orbit:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,957052,00.html
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,841857,00.html
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf82.html
http://mt-milcom.blogspot.com/2009/01/cosmos-1818-fragments-of-orbiting.html
http://www.space4peace.org/ianus/npsm2.htm

Some of the articles are historical.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2010 11:15:43 AM PST
Hi Walter!

Thanks for the links, and especially the updated information. (I thought Wikipedia was on top of things like "latest developments" - guess not.)

Rather frightening to think that the Russians are madly putting up as many orbiting nuclear reactors as they can. Especially since they didn't do so well with Chernobyl ...

http://nextbigfuture.com/
Today's edition has more on Russia's "nuclear space" intentions.

As well as a separate article on "Diode Pumped Alkali Lasers Could Eventually Enable Practical Airplane-Based Laser Anti-Missile Systems". (I'm beginning to wonder just how safe Space Tourism near Earth is going to be! Maybe that travel agency will issue "flight insurance" for "Getting caught in any orbital or sub-orbital hostilities including, but not limited to, laser attacks, exploding satellites, or unfortunate proximity to malfunctioning orbital nuclear reactors ...")

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2010 11:59:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2010 12:00:21 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"Thanks for the links, and especially the updated information. (I thought Wikipedia was on top of things like "latest developments" - guess not.)"

Wikipedia accurately says 'SNAP-10A was first and so far only known launch of a U.S. nuclear reactor into space (although many radioisotope thermoelectric generators have also been launched).'

This statement only refers to the US, not the many Russian reactors such as those on several of the Kosmos satellites - the Canadians charged the Russians three million Canadian dollars for the cost of clearing the radioactive wreckage of Kosmos 954.

"Rather frightening to think that the Russians are madly putting up as many orbiting nuclear reactors as they can. Especially since they didn't do so well with Chernobyl ..."

They've been doing it since the late sixties. Three Kosmos and one RORSAT satellite carrying nuclear reactors have suffered mishaps; three fell to Earth, one was boosted into orbit.

Many remaining nuclear powered RORSATs are in low orbits which will degrade in the relatively near future; the nuclear cores are usually sent up into a 'disposal orbit' but some have left radioactive material in a lower orbit; there is an impact risk to other satellites (and maybe tourists) but the material should mostly be rendered harmless on re-entry.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 12:42:50 PM PST
MH -

Thanks for the additional information. I guess the big unanswered question is why we need all these orbiting nuclear reactors? Some sources say they are to re-fuel orbiting satellites. So how would that work? Especially considering the amount of space debris, and laborious process to manuever a satellite?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2010 1:32:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2010 1:33:44 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"I guess the big unanswered question is why we need all these orbiting nuclear reactors?"

One reason is that a satellite with a nuclear power source does not have to rely on solar panels; the nuclear reactor can generate a significant amount of power that would require very large panels to match. For a military satellite, solar panels present both a larger target so they are easier to detect and are also potentially susceptible to damage: cripple the large panels and you cripple the satellite even if its main body is hardened against impact or other forms of attack.

The other factor is that military satellites, such as the Russian reconaissance satellites, are often placed in a low orbit to make their sensors more effective - this means that depending on various factors they can come into contact with the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere and even at those altitudes the panels would act as a drag, slowing the satellite down and reducing its life span in orbit. The Kosmos/RORSATs (RORSAT is a western designation) were mostly monitoring surface shipping, especially NATO vessels using radar. For the radar to work effectively they had to be at as low an orbit as possible.

"Some sources say they are to re-fuel orbiting satellites. So how would that work? Especially considering the amount of space debris, and laborious process to manuever a satellite?"

I have never heard of an orbital nuclear reactor being intended to 'recharge' other satellites.

Satellites use a variety of fuels for their manoeuvring/station-keeping thrusters; even ion thrusters need fuel. The Russian satellites carrying nuclear reactors also need fuel/coolant and some of this has been lost in low orbit when the nuclear cores are intentionally sent to a disposal orbit.

The Hubble Space Telescope has received a number of shuttle maintenance missions, including new gyroscopes and batteries. The shuttle has performed a satellite refueling demonstration.

The DARPA/NASA Orbital Express satellite refueling prototype was abandoned in 2007.

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 1:23:07 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2010 9:25:39 AM PST
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/webaccess/CommSpaceTrans/SpaceCommTransSec39/CommSpacTransSec39.html

"Commercial Space Transportation Study". This is a NASA doc investigating the commercial potential for extraterrestrial resources. I'm putting it here, instead of in the NASA discussion, since the "commercial potential for extraterrestrial resources" has been handed off by NASA to private enterprises.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 2:09:30 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"I'm putting it here, instead of in the NASA discussion, since the "commercial potential for extraterrestrial resources" has been handed off by NASA to private enterprises."

Doesn't it belong in the "Race To Space: Exploration, Commercial or Tourist Driven?" thread instead?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 7:21:06 PM PST
Ronald Craig says:
"I'm putting it here, instead of in the NASA discussion, since the 'commercial potential for extraterrestrial resources' has been handed off by NASA to private enterprises."

Yeah, because the "commercial potential" of such resources obviously has a lot to do with upcoming space wars.

Sheesh. But hey, Marilyn, whatever. All of your threads are basically the same anyway, no?

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 7:32:37 PM PST
Kirk Mcloren says:
Reverse engineering alien technology is such a bogus idea. Imagine a modern drone crash landing in England at the beginning of WWII. You really think some lads familiar with vacuum tubes and 150mHz a laboratory phenomena are ready to understand millimeter communications and navigation control that are solid state? Hell, they wouldnt even know if it were off or on except it may be warm. You have to have an inkling and develop upon it. No inkling and all you have is magic and where would you begin to look? I remember when the worlds foremost authorities pontificated the physics of solid state had a theoretical limit of 30MHz. Laughable now but the Holy word back then.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 12:42:52 AM PST
I can't believe this thread is still going on. 'Alien Engineering' doesn't exist, because there are no aliens. Ideas about aliens don't make sense, purported alien behaviours and motivations don't make sense. Supposed government behaviour with aliens doesn't make any sense.

Anyone who has worked for the government or involved in the military or dealt with some of the true supersecret stuff out there would know this. It would simply be impossible to keep such things secret.

But I guess I can't expect people to look at this intelligently, since we are all actually only half-intelligent, stupid monkeys. And that is how things REALLY are.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 2:39:25 AM PST
TO: Nate is my fake name
RE: "Earth Strike: Star Carrier: Book One"

I've just read the reviews for the above book, and it certainly seems to me to be a rehash of the second and third Marines trilogies. Of course, I could be wrong. Please let me know how you like book one.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 2:45:59 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
Federic,

"I can't believe this thread is still going on. 'Alien Engineering' doesn't exist, because there are no aliens. Ideas about aliens don't make sense, purported alien behaviours and motivations don't make sense. Supposed government behaviour with aliens doesn't make any sense."

True. This thread has mostly metamorphosed towards actual human hi tech weaponry, though there is still a strong 'speculation' bias in one contributor's posts.

Posted on Mar 7, 2010 9:54:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2010 9:56:20 AM PST
http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-01-26/russian-company-offensive-satellite.html

According to Russia Today, a Russian company is designing an "offensive military satellite", although it's not revealing exactly what "offensive" capabilities this satellite will have. It will be a 20-ton orbiter, powered by 150-500 kilowatt nuclear reactor. Russia and other countries have signed treaties to not "weaponize space", but this developer obviously thinks that the Russian government is or will eventually be interested in just such an "offensive satellite".

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2011276980_marineswomen07.html

The Marines have designed a unique program to "interact with the natives". They are training small groups of "female-engagement teams" for Afghanistan. Afghan women are forbidden to interact with foreign males, yet may have valuable information related to the Taliban. So these "female-engagement teams" will talk to these women thru interpreters, and see what useful information can be gleaned. (This is an interesting idea, with a science fiction, future-warfare concept of special-trained, gender-based "teams" talking to sheltered natives on planets with intelligent life.)

http://rt.com/Sci_Tech/2010-03-03/russia-flying-saucer-airship.html

According to Russia Today, researchers are building helium-filled "airships" with a flying-saucer design, called "Locomoskayners". (In another related article, Russian researchers are also getting ready to build hard-shell Zeppelins.) These "airships" seem designed mainly for near-ground transport, probably to more inexpensively ferry cargo around Russia's vast land-regions. (But this too, could have a science fiction, future-colonization aspect, of helium-filled airships ferrying people/cargo around vast land-regions.)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2010 10:39:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2010 10:51:26 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"According to Russia Today, a Russian company is designing an "offensive military satellite", although it's not revealing exactly what "offensive" capabilities this satellite will have."

According to the article it is a 'concept of a universal military satellite with offensive capabilities' which is several steps from actually designing such a system.

The article also states that it would be intended to 'monitor territories and airspace, provide informational superiority - including in armed conflicts - and perform target designation and traffic control. It will also be offensive-cable.'

Such a mix of roles seems counter-productive, as such a large satellite makes an excellent easily detectable target, and by combining multiple sensors on one platform, it means that if the satellite is compromised all capabilities are lost. By giving it an offensive capability means that it will be a high priority target; there is usually an intent to distinguish between surveillance and offensive platforms.

"It will be a 20-ton orbiter, powered by 150-500 kilowatt nuclear reactor. Russia and other countries have signed treaties to not "weaponize space", but this developer obviously thinks that the Russian government is or will eventually be interested in just such an "offensive satellite"."

The Russians have previously had a number of nuclear powered military satellites in orbit, mostly 'Upravlyaemyj Sputnik Aktivnyj' used for radar ocean reconnaisance, plus others of the Kosmos series, some of which may still be operational. The Russians also developed and tested an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) system in orbit, the Istrebitel Sputnikov (IS) series, and the program ended in the early eighties.

The Outer Space Treaty only bans the locating of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in orbit, on the Moon or elsewhere in space. It does not limit the use of other weapons.

The Space Preservation Treaty, which would prevent *any* weapons in space, has only been signed by Berkeley, California, and a few towns and cities in Canada. No nation has ratified it.

Posted on Mar 20, 2010 8:48:52 AM PDT
Is anyone else surprised to learn that within the DoD is a "Missile Defence Agency"? Below are some links, about how our military is actively pursuing new and better missles:

http://www.mda.mil/
This is the official website for the "Missile Defence Agency". The latest news is the article titled "Airborne Laser Test Bed Successful in Lethal Intercept Experiment" (with photos).

http://www.raytheon.com/
This is the website for Raytheon. Their latest news is the article titled "Raytheon Missile Systems Establishes Air and Missile Defense Systems Product Line"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2010 9:26:12 AM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
Why are you using the British spelling through the middle of your post?

Not that, as a raving Anglophile, I mind or anything. Just curious. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2010 9:44:06 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"Is anyone else surprised to learn that within the DoD is a "Missile Defence Agency"?"

It would be surprising is there weren't.... This and related research has received considerable publicity. The laser system has been undergoing various tests for several years and has been under development for more than a decade.

An article from 2008:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026866.200-airborne-laser-lets-rip-on-first-target.html
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Initial post:  Oct 8, 2009
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