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DARPA Rapid Eye

flateric

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The goal of the Rapid Eye program is to develop a high altitude, long endurance unmanned aircraft that can be rocket-deployed from the continental United States world-wide within 1-2 hours to perform intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and communication missions. The enabling technologies are inflatable/folding structures, stable and dense energy storage, and low-oxygen propulsion. Rapid Eye will provide decision makers rapid-reaction Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and persistent communication capability for emerging situations.


*Very* interesting DARPA Rapid Eye Industry Day Conference briefs - thanks Bill Sweetman for a hint
http://www.darpa.mil/tto/solicit/RapidEye/Rapid_Eye_ID-Briefs.pdf
 

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ouroboros

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The reentry parts been somewhat demonstrated on russian spacecraft. I say somewhat, because it appears of the two test craft, one may not have made it, and the other was stolen by locals before the recovery party arrived.

Having the reentry capsule in long term storage in a polar orbit, by itself, or as part of a long term stationed MIRV warhead bus would allow for some very interesting deployment scenarios that wouldn't have air defenses the world over pissing their pants over something with an ICBM style flight profile.

It's a mixed bag when you try to use ICBM's in a more conventional role. Sure, it could be a bunker buster or a UAV, or it could be a nuke. How the receiving end is supposed to know is an exercise left to the reader.
 

quellish

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ouroboros said:
The reentry parts been somewhat demonstrated on russian spacecraft. I say somewhat, because it appears of the two test craft, one may not have made it, and the other was stolen by locals before the recovery party arrived.

Having the reentry capsule in long term storage in a polar orbit, by itself, or as part of a long term stationed MIRV warhead bus would allow for some very interesting deployment scenarios that wouldn't have air defenses the world over pissing their pants over something with an ICBM style flight profile.

It's a mixed bag when you try to use ICBM's in a more conventional role. Sure, it could be a bunker buster or a UAV, or it could be a nuke. How the receiving end is supposed to know is an exercise left to the reader.


NASA has actually been developing some of this technology for Mars:
http://marsairplane.larc.nasa.gov/
 

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Contracts are about to be awarded. LockMart Skunk Works in negotiating one, Aurora Flight Sciences another, and there may be a third one, as there is with Vulture.
 

Orionblamblam

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It's a nifty idea, but it seems like an easy way to start World War V. The point of this thing is launch-on-a-moment, to get eyes over the target ASAP... b ut launching an ICBM out of the blue is the sort of thing that makes some people twitchy. Yeltsin damn near hit the button when a Norwegian sounding rocket went off course; I shudder to imagine what Putin might do.
 

flateric

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Orionblamblam said:
I shudder to imagine what Putin might do.

We have a new one for two months soon...Medvedev he is...I shudder to imagine what he might do...
 

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Orionblamblam

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flateric said:
Orionblamblam said:
I shudder to imagine what Putin might do.

We have a new one for two months soon...Medvedev he is...I shudder to imagine what he might do...

From what I've been hearing, he's just a Putin sockpuppet.

But that's sorta beside the point: the launch of this relatively small recon drone will entail the launch of an ICBM, or at least what'll certainly look like an ICBM to the missile launch detection satellites of anybody who happens to have such satellites. That's a recipe for unpleasantness.
 

AeroFranz

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But that's sorta beside the point: the launch of this relatively small recon drone will entail the launch of an ICBM, or at least what'll certainly look like an ICBM to the missile launch detection satellites of anybody who happens to have such satellites. That's a recipe for unpleasantness.
[/quote]

Some people at DARPA got really scared after the chinese added several thousands new pieces of debris in space early last year. They are afraid they might do the same to other ISR assets and need some replacement that can be sent up at a moment's notice.
But yeah, ICBMs tend to make people nervous regardless of what they are actually carrying :)
 

Orionblamblam

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AeroFranz said:
Some people at DARPA got really scared after the chinese added several thousands new pieces of debris in space early last year.

And I'm sure others got kinda giddy. "Holy crap... we'll need launch-on-demand capabilty ASAP!" sounds like a headache to some, the first step to low cost space access to others.

But yeah, ICBMs tend to make people nervous regardless of what they are actually carrying :)

Load 'em with rice and medical supplies and launch into the quake regions of China. Just as a test, of course....
:p
 

quellish

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AeroFranz said:
But that's sorta beside the point: the launch of this relatively small recon drone will entail the launch of an ICBM, or at least what'll certainly look like an ICBM to the missile launch detection satellites of anybody who happens to have such satellites. That's a recipe for unpleasantness.

Some people at DARPA got really scared after the chinese added several thousands new pieces of debris in space early last year. They are afraid they might do the same to other ISR assets and need some replacement that can be sent up at a moment's notice.
But yeah, ICBMs tend to make people nervous regardless of what they are actually carrying :)
[/quote]

Common Aero Vehicle and the Conventional Trident aren't as useful without something to provide targets for them.
 

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