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Deployment of Space Weapons

Posted by: Andy Hill - Wed Apr 27, 2005 1:38 pm
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Deployment of Space Weapons 
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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:24 am
It seems that the constant references to space weapons by people has provoked a Russian response.

http://www2.interfax.ru/eng/news/politi ... story.html

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.htm ... &PageNum=1

Even though Bush has said a number of times that the US has no plans to deploy weapon the Russians obviously feel that there is no smoke without fire and that the US is planing to place such things in orbit. Russia does not say what it will do but it will not allow another country to deploy space weapons without deploying its own.

It is interesting to note that the Russian press does not quote people as saying that Russia is considering space weapons as a option, in fact it only ever metions them in response to what the US will do. I think if the US deploys anything it will provoke a space arms race.

I fail to see how the US will gain an advantage if other countries deploy their own weapons, all that has happened is the battlefield has moved or more correctly widened and a space weapon stalemate will be reached costing billions of dollars with no side having a clear advantage.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:44 pm
I'm not so sure about this "space arms race" deal. I think it's more like the people who christmas-tree a test: nobody wants to be the first to get up and admit that they wussed out, so they wait for a decent length of time to make it look like they actually worked on the test.

It's probably the same effect here: Russia, China, and the EU probably all want space-based weapons platforms equally badly (and even more than the US does), but none of them want to receive the blame for appearing to be so "aggressive" as to put offensive weapons in space. None of 'em have got the guts to show a desire for improved weaponry, so they'll all wait until somebody else puts them in place and then say that they did it out of self-defense. That way, they can get the weapons that they want (and have been developing all along anyways -- how else do you think those sats will get launched in record time?), make somebody else look bad ("Just look how aggressive those <insert country name here> are!"), and make themselves look good ("See, I'm protecting you, O people who elected me!") all at the same time. It's the political equivalent of a four of a kind.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:31 pm
I'm sure you are right. Bit stupid of the US to deal everyone else such a good hand then. :)

If no one is the first to deploy them then everyone sits around waiting and space weapons never happen, sounds like you can achieve a stalemate in space weaponry without spending any money at all. Excellent everyone is a winner. :)

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:13 pm
Nah, 'cuz somebody eventually gets impatient, and claims that they need the space-based weapons program to be capable of self-defense from the American aggressors. The moral of the story: the U.S. gets screwed either way.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 06, 2005 5:08 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
It's probably the same effect here: Russia, China, and the EU probably all want space-based weapons platforms equally badly (and even more than the US does), but none of them want to receive the blame for appearing to be so "aggressive" as to put offensive weapons in space. None of 'em have got the guts to show a desire for improved weaponry, so they'll all wait until somebody else puts them in place and then say that they did it out of self-defense. That way, they can get the weapons that they want (and have been developing all along anyways -- how else do you think those sats will get launched in record time?), make somebody else look bad ("Just look how aggressive those <insert country name here> are!"), and make themselves look good ("See, I'm protecting you, O people who elected me!") all at the same time. It's the political equivalent of a four of a kind.


I hope this is a joke, right?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:54 am
Uhh.... No. :? Why, did you think it was funny?

Governments like weapons. Space-based weapons, although often costly to implement, are quite cheap to maintain -- especially when you consider their capability.

Besides, look at the economics of the situation (I say this knowing that I run the risk of a correction of my terminology by Ekkehard): which country has the most functioning satellites in orbit? Which country is generally unliked by pretty much every other country? Which country has the most to lose by the implementation of orbital weapons platforms? Answer: The U.S.. Explanation for part III: because we have the largest number of functioning satellites along with the largest "conventional" military force, we have the most to lose by space-based weapons. Militarily, it comes down to the fact that no other country could effectively and successfully wage war on America without the use of nuclear weapons. However, if another country puts weapons platforms in space, they have the potential to cripple our economy (knock out communications, destroy infrastructure and manufacturing facilities, etc.) with little or no chance of retribution on the part of the U.S. -- again, assuming that we are unwilling to use nuclear weapons (hopefully, nobody will ever be willing to use nuclear weapons). Orbital weapons platforms are solely a first-strike weapon, meaning that they are only useful offensively, to take another country out of action before the war even has a chance to start. Space-based weapons are essentially the most modern version of the artillery piece: strike far, strike hard, and wipe 'em out before they even know you're comin'.

So yeah, the U.S. military wants space-based weapons. But I'm willing to bet that -- even though they have no intention of admitting it, because that would make them look barbaric and uncivilized in the eyes of their countrymen -- the entire EEU, along with Russia, China, and every other major power out there wants them more than we ever have.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 07, 2005 12:44 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Space-based weapons, although often costly to implement, are quite cheap to maintain -- especially when you consider their capability.

Cowboy, this makes no sense what-so-ever. If you have something in orbit and it needs maintenance ... how can maintenance possibly be ... uh ... quite cheap?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:35 pm
Sats don't need maintenance. That's the whole point. I said "maintain" as in "keep tabs on and control of".

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:50 pm
Ah, so ... ah! I ... er ... see? So ... um ... this is a new usage of the term maintain that I was unaware of. Thanks! :lol:

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:47 pm
Yes, yes, I know, I mis-spoke (wrote?), and I apologize for the error on my part -- thanks for pointing it out, by the way.

Satellites are usually pretty robust, as they tend to consist of little more than a power source and a payload (communications system, radar antenna, surveillance cameras, whatever). Of course, if someone was to send up a weapons platform satellite, then it would doubtless be completely encased in armor plating, along with having large amounts of maneuvering fuel -- a weapon doesn't do you any good if you can't point it at the badguys.

Controlling satellites tends to be rather easy, since they have the habit of staying wherever you put them.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 07, 2005 5:40 pm
There's no point in spending any money to place long-term military assets in space because anything in LEO is a sitting duck! It might be worth it if you were the only power with spacelaunch and High-Energy Laser capability, but at least a dozen powers on this dirt clod have one or both already. Space-to-space weapons are impractical for the same reason.

The only practical military use of space-based weaponry is to strike surface targets. Since nukes in space are barred by treaty, and energy weapons are impractical for the reasons above, this means something fairly mundane -- pellets, 'rods', rocks, 1000lb JDAMS or something along those lines.

The lower the orbit of these devices, the faster the reaction time, and the shorter the gap is between passes. Since it is a very low orbit, it will decay pretty fast anyway, so your on-orbit manuevering is going to be limited to two or three aspect changes in the system's 30-day lifespan. What you need for this is a fast-reaction flexible light-medium launch platform; the stuff that FALCON was meant to create.

So the "superiority of the stars" weapons race, if it comes about, will not be about who has the most assets on orbit, it will be about who has the most robust and flexible launch infrastructure. And the minute anybody lofts an offensive military payload, every bozo with an orbital vehicle will instantly be a player.

Sorry kids, you can't build your X-wing until you have good shielding technology, 'cause I can always build a flashlight or two on the ground that can cook your giblets in a microsecond.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:29 pm
We weren't the first to put heavy weapons in space anyway:
http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/pole12.jpg

Perhaps some of the missile defense money will go to this:

http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2005/ ... _a_sh.html


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:35 pm
publiusr wrote:
We weren't the first to put heavy weapons in space anyway:
http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/pole12.jpg


Heh. That's what you think.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:32 pm
I saw that. It is over at www.astronautix.com

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/naattocv.htm

But Polyus at least made it to space--before the 20 ton TKSferry/FGB tug segment pushed it back down.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:38 pm
Hrm. Sounds like another flopnik.

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