Pentagon ready To Unveil and Demonstrate operational Classified Space Weapon

sferrin

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Brilliant Pebbles. Several large scale clusters (Starlink and such) are showing that such a system could be viable. Maybe they have a couple Brilliant Pebbles sats up there. (I know, I'd have a better shot at winning the lottery but one can dream.)
 

Dilandu

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Isn't space militarization kinda... Bad?..
Nah. If not for Outer Space Treaty, we would have much more advanced space capabilities by now.

Also, arguably the best placement for retaliatory nuclear arsenal is on high Earth orbit. It is constantly under observation from both sides, so neither sudden attack from it, nor sudden attack on it is possible (it would took hours for missiles to went through distance). I.e. no worries about your arsenal being destroyed, and no worries for your opponent that you may launch a sudden attack on it. Win-win scenario.
 

Dilandu

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The OST bans weapons of mass destruction in space, not all weapons. As long as this capability isn't nuclear, it's absolutely fine under the OST
To be exact, it bans nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon from being deployed in space. Other weapons of mass destruction - kinetic, for example, or radiological - is fine.
 

TomS

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To be exact, it bans nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon from being deployed in space. Other weapons of mass destruction - kinetic, for example, or radiological - is fine.

To be exact, it does not define weapons of mass destruction at all, though it does specifically call out nuclear weapons. A kinetic weapon capable of causing a similar scale of damage to a nuclear weapon would likely be considered a WMD. OTOH, the typical proposals for kinetic weapons employed from space probably can't cause nuclear scale damage, so they may be legal?

ARTICLE IV​

States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.
 

Josh_TN

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Brilliant Pebbles. Several large scale clusters (Starlink and such) are showing that such a system could be viable. Maybe they have a couple Brilliant Pebbles sats up there. (I know, I'd have a better shot at winning the lottery but one can dream.)

It’s possible, but there are so many non kinetic ways to fuck with a satellite without creating a shrapnel field I really doubt it’s a kinetic based system.
 

Josh_TN

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Isn't space militarization kinda... Bad?..
Nah. If not for Outer Space Treaty, we would have much more advanced space capabilities by now.

Also, arguably the best placement for retaliatory nuclear arsenal is on high Earth orbit. It is constantly under observation from both sides, so neither sudden attack from it, nor sudden attack on it is possible (it would took hours for missiles to went through distance). I.e. no worries about your arsenal being destroyed, and no worries for your opponent that you may launch a sudden attack on it. Win-win scenario.

I disagree from a stabilizing standpoint or even a delivery standpoint. It’s hard to change your orbit quickly unless you have a lot of fuel while de orbit as a first strike is far easier to achieve without the massive thermal bloom of a ballistic missile. The DSP system could already detect Scud launches in the early 90’s. The detection of a de orbit of a FOBS like system would take a global radar and optical tracking system…which the US has. But it would not be nearly as conclusive or definitive as tracking launches from the ground.

Orbital nukes are vastly destabilizing. It might happen, but it is hardly something to be hoped for.
 

TomcatViP

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What about a 21st century version of the MOL? Something optionally manned, dedicated to intelligence and ensuring strategic communications in denied/jammed environments.
 
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archipeppe

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What about a 21st century version of the MOL? Something dedicated to intelligence and ensuring strategic communications in denied/jammed environments.
It was anachronistic in 1969 when it was canceled, imagine now. Automatic systems like HEXAGON and KENNEN are far better.
Anyway a single launch of SpaceX Starship specifically designed would also Space Force to have a manned armed orbital station with 40 people onboard all at once.
 

TomcatViP

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We are envisioning the declassification of something reaching the end of its operational life.

Imagine such MOL working in pair with the X-37, a spacecraft known for alternating low and high orbit in an ellipsoidal path. In the low altitude it would receive instruction via direct data link and in its higher orbit pass it to the MOL in a secure way. Strategic communications could be maintained that way in the most jammed environment where others satcom would suffer attrition and interferences from opposing forces. Intelligence could also be passed down through the same channel.

Obviously, with something as massive as Starship and prompt launches as they are promised by SpaceX, that MOL would then be obsolete as you pointed.
 

TomS

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What about a 21st century version of the MOL? Something optionally manned, dedicated to intelligence and ensuring strategic communications in denied/jammed environments.

Not sure how putting people on board would improve on the existing satellite capabilities. Or how such a thing would fit the described function of this capacity as improving deterrence against ASAT.

Imagine such MOL working in pair with the X-37, a spacecraft known for alternating low and high orbit in an ellipsoidal path. In the low altitude it would receive instruction via direct data link and in its higher orbit pass it to the MOL in a secure way. Strategic communications could be maintained that way in the most jammed environment where others satcom suffer attritionsband interferences
from opposing forces. Intelligence could also be passed down through the same channel.

Given the scrutiny around national security launches, how do you think observers would have missed the existence of a large, manned, platform, especially if it ever approached the X-37B orbits (which sat-obs folks track very closely). If manned (the M in MOL), such a platform would have required regular crew exchanges every six months or so, which obviously did not happen.

No, think much smaller. Either something ground-based (An ASAT based on SM-3 Block II?), or a satellite-based defensive capability small enough to be launched as a ride-along on known national security missions.
 

TomcatViP

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I am wondering what would that thing represent in the new Space Force commercial :

Screenshot_20210825_213254.jpg


(notice also that observers have missed in the past a lot of things when it comes to aerospace (A-12, F-117...))
 
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Josh_TN

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I’m guessing it’s a soft kill ability either based on microwave emissions/jamming cube sats or else a ground based laser. MIRCL was once fired at a defunct USAF satellite with the results never reported. It shouldn’t be difficult to scorch solar panels.
 

TomS

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notice also that observers have missed in the past a lot of things when it comes to aerospace (A-12, F-117...

Not the same thing. I'm talking about people who specialize in finding and tracking objects in orbit -- they've imaged the X-37B (for example), and deduced the orbits and missions of pretty much every known national security space launch.

And there are no unknown ones at the right scale for what you are imagining. Space launches of the magnitude needed to carry manned spacecraft are visible for hundreds (if not thousands) of miles and come from a very small number of known sites. No one is conducting undetected space launches on that scale, much less every six months or so to rotate crew on a manned platform.

That spacecraft from the commercial is fictional -- a pretty picture for recruiting. It probably represents some form of nuclear-powered spacecraft for cis-lunar operations, since that's on the Space Force's long-term dream list.
 

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@TomS : I understand. But I am not saying that what is shown is real but that it could be representing a capability. The commercial seems to display only real assets for the Space Force. And then there is this thing that you can see also repeatedly in another video.

Optionally manned could mean something simply crewed only a couple of week each years (scheduled maintenance). There isn't any lack of capable launcher for that mission if we look back at it since the 1980's.
 

Q-nimbus

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Just declassify it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the only ones they’re keeping it secret from is congres.
 
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TomcatViP

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The (remote) perspectives of the X-37 being used in something manned and classified reminds me of the mystery of the soot marks pattern on the cargo bay.
This has been discussed much earlier (at least I remember myself posting something on the subject) but the soot marks suggest the cargo bay are open during re-entry or low fly byes as the x-37 is known to uniquely do.
Then I wonder, what could be the probability (under the percent certainly) of it carrying an inhabited ballistic transfer module that could be released in low earth orbit protecting one or two Astronauts for their journey back on earth or be ejected in the high atmosphere before the X-37, much lighter then, begin its own glide flight back to base?
 
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sferrin

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Then I wonder, what could be the probability (under the percent certainly) of it carrying an inhabited ballistic transfer module that could be released in low earth orbit protecting one or two Astronauts for their journey back on earth or be ejected in the high atmosphere before the X-37, much lighter then, would begin its own glide flight back to base?
What would be the point of this?
 

Dilandu

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Then I wonder, what could be the probability (under the percent certainly) of it carrying an inhabited ballistic transfer module that could be released in low earth orbit protecting one or two Astronauts for their journey back on earth or be ejected in the high atmosphere
Technically it is MAYBE (I doubt it) possible, but what's the point of using long-duration spacecraft for running a very short duration manned mission? At most, you could put in one astronaut in prone position, with minimal life support. And it would literally took the whole available space in cargo bay. Wouldn't it be cheaper to just order a modified Crew Dragon (for example, with airlock instead of docking port) from SpaceX?
 

TomcatViP

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Then I wonder, what could be the probability (under the percent certainly) of it carrying an inhabited ballistic transfer module that could be released in low earth orbit protecting one or two Astronauts for their journey back on earth or be ejected in the high atmosphere
Technically it is MAYBE (I doubt it) possible, but what's the point of using long-duration spacecraft for running a very short duration manned mission? At most, you could put in one astronaut in prone position, with minimal life support. And it would literally took the whole available space in cargo bay. Wouldn't it be cheaper to just order a modified Crew Dragon (for example, with airlock instead of docking port) from SpaceX?
The X-37 would only transfer Astronauts on their way back covertly at the end of its own mission.

Crew would be launched independently from the vehicle.

I am envisioning something that was introduced one or one half decade ago.
 

TomcatViP

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Then I wonder, what could be the probability (under the percent certainly) of it carrying an inhabited ballistic transfer module that could be released in low earth orbit protecting one or two Astronauts for their journey back on earth or be ejected in the high atmosphere before the X-37, much lighter then, would begin its own glide flight back to base?
What would be the point of this?
Using the X-37 as a covert transfer and support
vehicle for the optionally manned MOL mission.
Use the vehicle capabilities to minimize the design constraints of re-entry on the survival module (no thruster, no fuel, no thermal shield.. Just a set of parachutes)

A re-entry is something that is hard to hide in most
circumstances. So having a vehicle that can assure the transfer from orbits discreetly and provides operational advantages would be a huge bonus.
 

archipeppe

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X-37B Payload bay dimension rule out any possibilities of manned usage.
That's it.
Cargo bay could be open during re-entry with the top of the survival module protruding above the vehicle (think at the soot marks)
Absolutely no, it would lead to a destructive re-entry.
Simply doesn't work this way....
 

TomcatViP

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X-37B Payload bay dimension rule out any possibilities of manned usage.
That's it.
Cargo bay could be open during re-entry with the top of the survival module protruding above the vehicle (think at the soot marks)
Absolutely no, it would lead to a destructive re-entry.
Simply doesn't work this way....
Given the aoa on reentry, open cargo bay's external doors would be shielded by the vehicle's Delta wing. Except for their front end section where soot can be seen.
 

TomcatViP

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Two launch vehicles. One host a simplified Appolo type capsule (no re-entry), the other the X-37.
X-37 is a tactical vehicle for the mission (including strategic coms). MOL hosts the maintenance crew.
At the end of their mission, the crew get into a survival modul hosted inside the X-37 cargo bay.
The X-37 de-orbit, eject the survival modul and glide back to land (this way its mass is reduced to the point where a small vehicle can be sufficient for the mission).
Survival modul deploys parachutes and fall down back to the surface of earth the way capsule do but discreetly, away from any suspecting sources.
 

Dilandu

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Two launch vehicles. One host a simplified Appolo type capsule (no re-entry), the other the X-37.

Wouldn't it be simpler to just launch Crew Dragon?

At the end of their mission, the crew get into a survival modul hosted inside the X-37 cargo bay.
Why exactly should they do it, instead of just returning on the ship they came with?
the crew get into a survival modul hosted inside the X-37 cargo bay.
At most you could fit one astronaut here.
The X-37 de-orbit, eject the survival modul and glide back to land (this way its mass is reduced to the point where a small vehicle can be sufficient for the mission).
Er, the problem is, that at most critical points - de-orbiting and re-entry - the mass would be exactly the same.
Survival modul deploys parachutes and fall down back to the surface of earth the way capsule do but discreetly, away from any suspecting sources.
I literally fail to see what exactly could be achieved by that...
 

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A smaller winged vehicle (less wing area) can sustain more easily the re-entry.
At that time (a decade or more ago), there was no Crew-Dragon!
Using the built-in re-entry capabilities of the X-37 means that you don't double down on your total launch mass since the launch-only capsule does not have to host fuel to de-orbit, have a shield etc... Hence more useful cargo to resupply the MOL.
Without that concept, there is no secrets also since every launch and reentry can be monitored.

Last but not least, I don't want this idea to monopolies the thread.
 

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