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Cold-War Missile Launches Military Satellite

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the swords-to-flying-swords dept.

The Military 91

Velcroman1 writes "At 11:49 a.m. EDT, a Minotaur IV+ rocket — essentially a decommissioned Peacekeeper missile built decades ago during the Cold War — launched the TacSat-4 satellite into orbit. Most troops today carry PRC-117 radios for communication, devices that rely on UHF transmissions. They relay calls and data back to a base station that's brought in and fixed in place, either set up on a hillside locally or carried overhead in a nearby plane. The TacSat-4 (or tactical microsatellite) lets the hundreds of thousands of military handheld radios currently in use communicate directly with an antenna orbiting in the most convenient spot imaginable: all that space overhead. 'If you're a mobile force, that requires a mobile infrastructure, the best place to put that infrastructure is in space,' said Dr. Larry Schuette, director of innovation for the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR)."

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91 comments

Swords into Plowshares. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534060)

This is a good thing.

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (2)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534112)

Well, it's a military comm system, so it's more like swords into sword-supporting infrastructure.

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534212)

Swords into plowshares on a farm that feeds the military?

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539792)

I can't but wonder if Peacekeeper missiles could be used to get stuff to the ISS? It would sure put to good usage things that only collect dust, expensively so.

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541552)

The Minotaur IV vehicle consists of four stages (three from the LGM-118 Peacekeeper) and is capable of placing 1,735 kilograms (3,830 lb) of payload into a Low Earth Orbit (LEO). So it'd not be that valuable for getting stuff to ISS. Progress can get 2,350 kg (5,200 lb) to ISS, ESA's ATV can get 7,667 kg (16,900 lb) to ISS.

The missiles are being converted over to Minotaurs as they are needed, so they aren't just "collecting dust".

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37543438)

Orbital Sciences is slowly working through the remaining Peacekeeper motors with each Minotaur IV and V launch, but their Taurus II for ISS resupply will use much bigger motors.

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (1)

zach_d (782013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534228)

so, swords into sword racks?

Besides... (4, Informative)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534446)

... we've been doing this for years. Converting USAF ICBM's into non-warhead launch vehicles isn't exactly a new practice. We've been doing this since the late 50's. A lot of early NASA launches were on ex-USAF Atlas missiles. The earlier Minoaturs were based on decommissioned Minuteman II's. Now it's the Peacekeeper's turn. One day, Minuteman III's will be retired to launch duty too. It just makes sense to do so. I remember Barbara Streisand giving a speech back in the 80's, about how buying ICBMs was wasteful because "they'd never be used". Shows what she knew. We were sending up a lot of converted Titan missiles as launch platforms during that period. So I don't know why this is news. Using these converted missiles has been a standard (and economical) practice for a long, long time now.

Re:Besides... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535140)

I remember Barbara Streisand giving a speech back in the 80's, about how buying ICBMs was wasteful because "they'd never be used". Shows what she knew.

Well, paying military prices (for military features, like quick fueling, etc.), and constant upkeep for decades, all for eventual use as little more than commercial-class launch service (which will be cheaper by then) is a really, really poor justification. Sure, once you have them, by all means use them, but don't pretend that's a justification.

The reason we pay for ICBMs is precisely so we can use them, and the way to use an ICBM is to threaten potential enemies; actually nuking people is a last resort.

Re:Besides... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541582)

There is no "quick fueling" with Minuteman or Peacekeepers, they are all solid fuel rockets.

Re:Besides... (0)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535944)


I remember Barbara Streisand giving a speech back in the 80's, about how buying ICBMs was wasteful because "they'd never be used". Shows what she knew.

More than you, apparently. Much as I hate Barbara Streisand, she was right. Putting money into these ICBMs WAS a waste of money. You think launching a few satellites justifies creating these things? You've obviously not thought it through. There's the cost of the warhead, which was never, and hopefully will never be used in the first place (many of which are dismantled, another cost). Add to that the maintenance cost of the missile itself. Add in the cost of the facilities it's housed in+ maintenance costs. Now add in the additional cost of a missile that's accurate enough to deliver a warhead to Russia, not to mention sit around for years being ready at a moments notice.

Still think this was a wise financial decision to make?

Re:Besides... (3, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536312)


Still think this was a wise financial decision to make?

If you need a nuclear deterrent, (and back then most people thought we did) then yes, especially compared to manned bombers. You're going to pay upfront costs for that deterrent. At least this way, you get double duty out of it.

Re:Besides... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 2 years ago | (#37574074)


If you need a nuclear deterrent, (and back then most people thought we did)

Those people were wrong. We didn't need to build the massive, massive stockpiles of nuclear weaspons. Fear sells though.

In any case, the argument falls apart if you have to justify it through "most people thought we needed it".

Re:Besides... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541672)

Yes, those bombs on bombers, missiles at sea and in the ground have kept the world from having a global war for the last 60+ years.

MAD really did bring stability to the world, events that might have triggered large wars, Cuban Missile Crisis, invasion of Hungary, invasion of Czechoslovakia, Suez Crisis, Yom Kippur War, fall of Saigon, Straight of Taiwan crisis, Korean War, were all tempered by the knowledge that escalation would lead to hundreds of millions of deaths.

Look at the 30 Years War, the Coalition Wars, World War 1, World War 2 and the death and instability those caused, then look at the world since MAD started, it's much more stable.

Re:Besides... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 2 years ago | (#37574098)

Post hoc ergo propter hoc? That's the best you can come up with?

Whether MAD made the world more stable is quite irrelevant. The weapons that have been dismantled are by definition not necessary to achieve MAD. They are completely redundant for that purpose. So they therefore were a complete and utter waste to produce.

Re:Besides... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537350)

"We"? Were you personally doing it?

Re:Besides... (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538098)

Haha.

I remember arriving in Iraq, stepping off the back of a C-130, looking around, and not one of the people who said "we are going to kick Saddam's ass" were present.

Re:Besides... (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537512)

This is classic lying right wing Republican bullshit. Find an entertainment figure that you despise, then trash what they say in order to make Democrats seem like idiots. It's called an ad hominem argument, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem [wikipedia.org] and it is a logical fallacy. It's what idiots do when they are incapable of rational discourse.

Over here in the real world, the Republicans are the anti-science, anti-intellectual party. That is not an opinion, it is an observation based on factual information. Want some examples?

Jon Huntsman Jr, a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn't a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. And that's too bad, because Mr Hunstman has been willing to say the unsayable about the Republican party in the United States, namely, that it is becoming the "anti-science party".

...

Mr Perry, the governor of Texas, recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as "just a theory", one that has "got some gaps in it", an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists. But what really got people's attention was what he said about climate change: "I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change."

That's a remarkable statement – or maybe the right adjective is "vile".

The second part of Mr Perry's statement is, as it happens, just false: the scientific consensus about man-made global warming – which includes 97% to 98% of researchers in the field, according to the National Academy of Sciences – is getting stronger, not weaker, as the evidence for climate change just keeps mounting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/04/evolution-climate-republicans-president [guardian.co.uk]

More examples? How about Bobby Jindal and the Volcano?

(AP) A month after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal complained about wasteful spending in President Obama's economic stimulus package - including money he sneered was for "something called 'volcano monitoring'" - Alaska pilots were grateful for such expenditures.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory was ready with warnings to flight officials when Alaska's Mount Redoubt blew, sending potentially deadly ash clouds north of Anchorage.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/03/24/tech/main4887816.shtml [cbsnews.com]

And what about Michelle Bachman claiming hurricane Irene was divine punishment from god (note the lower case spelling) because the country was sinful? Or Rick Perry praying for rain to help with the Texas wildfires? You know what he did about fighting fires in Texas? Cut the state budget by 75%, then ask for federal FEMA support when the state was burning down. Yep, the Feds are useless until you completely screw up everything and need them to bail you out. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/perry-asks-for-federal-funds-to-fight-wildfires-after-slashing-state-fire-budget/ [go.com]

So the Republicans are the party of stupid. And you fit right in.

Re:Besides... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538370)

Mr Perry, the governor of Texas, recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as "just a theory", one that has "got some gaps in it", an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists.

Hate to burst your ignorance bubble, but any good biologist will flatly tell you there are some "gaps" in the fossil record and our understanding of evolution. Not only is it a factually accurate statement, its what everyone is taught. Period. Can you please explain how you saying something completely invalid, which is the exact opposite of what is taught AND understood, is somehow suppose to add weight to what it is you're trying to say.

To be absolutely clear, any biologist who claims there are no "gaps" in the theory of evolution is a fucktard. Period. Even recent news events clearly prove we are still learning about evolution, how it works, and all the possible factors which pull it altogether. Saying there are gaps, in no way, shape, or form, invalidates the theory of evolution. Period. Its a factually accurate statement. Get over it.

So since you're too stupid to understand political speak, I will now translate for you:

evolution as "just a theory"

Translation: I have conservative douchebags so I need to pander to them. Factually speaking, it is, "just a theory." So he is awarded points for both being factually accurate and for managing to pander to morons who believe bullshit. Points awarded to Perry.

one that has "got some gaps in it"

Translation: Again, awarded brownie points for both being factually accurate, stating what is actually taught and believed by anyone who isn't a fucktard, and still manages to pander to morons who are anti-science by using scientifically accurate statements.

Sorry, you really need to learn how to comprehend the things you read. To be clear, Perry is a fucking crook, a douchebag, and a liar, but he's also a very able politician. I would never vote for him and I look down on anyone who would and/or has voted for him. Having said that, he is an apt politician who is very capable of using political speak to manipulate the fucktards of the world. So next, make an effort to understand what was actually said and why it may have been said rather than ignorantly attempt to believe the world is a literal black and white tale which can be grasped and fully understood by reading everything literally and as absolute truths. Sorry, but the fact this is how you not only see the world, but then parrot it forward makes you look dumber than the conservative, anti-science nutjobs he was pandering to.

Re:Besides... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539040)

It's called an ad hominem argument, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] and it is a logical fallacy. It's what idiots do when they are incapable of rational discourse.

Danger Will Robinson! I detect abnormally high levels of hypocrisy in the area!

Re:Besides... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539602)

Wow, you're a foaming at the mouth hardcore politi-tard. That is someone who gets so wrapped up in the media-driven and polarizing social control machine that is the theme of this country. The guy you were replying to didn't make a single political statement in his post.

While I agree with what you're saying about the republicans in general, I still think you're part of the problem by having such a state of mind that you composed all of that with quotes, links, and all. Get over it. Politics is designed to divide the citizens of this country so the Corporatist government will never see a revolution. We're too busy arguing over polarizing issues to ever mobilize against it.

Fucking fag.

Re:Besides... (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550910)

"This is classic lying right wing Republican bullshit. Find an entertainment figure that you despise, then trash what they say in order to make Democrats seem like idiots. "

Lying? She said this on a televised fundraiser she threw, with lots of celebrities in the audience ( I don't know why, but I remember the camera panning in on Bruce Willis in particular).

Note: I went and looked it up, and it was her One Voice concert [barbra-archives.com] in 1986, done specifically to raise money for Democratic candidates for the Senate.

"So the Republicans are the party of stupid. And you fit right in."

And you're still wrong. She said it.

Re:Besides... (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537588)

... we've been doing this for years. Converting USAF ICBM's into non-warhead launch vehicles isn't exactly a new practice. We've been doing this since the late 50's.

Very true - Mercury and Gemini depended on the Redstone, Atlas, and Titan as launch vehicles (although the Redstone was not an ICBM but a short range surface to surface missile and the manned Titans were built as a civilian variant; I don't think any Gemini flights used former ICBMs although satellites launches did). Without the military's building and testing of the missiles it would have taken a lot longer to get to Apollo. Many of NASA's sounding rockets relied on military hardware as well, such as the Nike and Honest John missiles. If you look at a photo of a Nike-Tomahawk you'll see two parallel olive drab strips on the Nike part - that's the cradle marks where the original olive drab military color was not painted white because the painting cradle covered that part of the missile and NASA didn't bother to paint over them once they were removed from the cradle.

The Titan and Atlas flew, as civilian variants, long after the ICBMs were gone.

Re:Besides... (1)

NikeHerc (694644) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546586)

The Titan and Atlas flew, as civilian variants, long after the ICBMs were gone.

To get an idea of the complexity of converting an ICBM or IRBM into a booster safe enough for humans, go to http://www.archive.org/stream/thisnewoceanhist00swen/thisnewoceanhist00swen_djvu.txt [archive.org] and search for "MAN-RATING THE MACHINES."

Re:Besides... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539382)

Yea they have been doing since well the first space launches.
Sputnik used the R-7 ICBM as a launcher. Still in use today as the Soyuz launcher in an updated and modified from.
Explorer 1 was the launched using a modified Redstone SRBM.
Atlas ELV == Former Atlas ICBM also used to launch the first Mercury orbital mission.
Delta= modified Thor IRBM.
Titan Family used to launch Gemini, Viking, Voyager I, Voyager II and many others descended from the Titan I and Titan II ICBMs.
The Proton was developed as a super heavy ICBM but turned into a launcher.
Even the Saturn 1b used a lot of parts from the Redstone and Jupiter missiles for it's first stage.
About the only systems that are not related to cold war missiles are the Delta 4, Atlas V, Ariane 5, Falcon and a few others that I am sure I missed like.
In other words the first satellite was launched by the first Cold War ICBM.

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535410)

You do realize of course that you could describe Sputnik in the same terms.

Nearly all of the early rocket programs were for military use.

The idea of putting something other than munitions on a rocket was pretty much an afterthought.

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539414)

This was the name of the "event" or whatever you want to call it when His Holiness Himself (heh) came to Fayetteville. Swords into Plowshares was the theme on the programs, etc. I thought it was original for that, but I guess not if it's being mentioned here.

Re:Swords into Plowshares. (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540056)

Oh cool, so now the military can tap 1 white mana to Remove target creature from the game entirely. Creature's controller gains life points equal to creature's power

Cum (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534120)

I did a head stand and came in my own mouth. It was delicious.

Hell of a Last Word in Title (2)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534124)

The last word of this story title could have been much worse.

Let's examine the spectrum from:

Cold-War Missile Launches Military Assault
to
Cold-War Missile Launches Military Baby Shower

Re:Hell of a Last Word in Title (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534402)

Cold-War Missile Launches Military Baby Shower
That would be a hell of a baby shower...

Re:Hell of a Last Word in Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534440)

Cold-War Missile Launches Military Baby Shower
That would be a hell of a baby shower...

Cut the last word and you have a Hollywood summer comedy.

Re:Hell of a Last Word in Title (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539174)

Cold-War Missile Launches Military Baby Shower

Yeah, but what is the ICD10 code for that?

Well that's fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534140)

A more efficient way of communicating so you can kill people.

Re:Well that's fantastic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534926)

A more efficient way of communicating so you can kill people.

Like New Orleans after Katrina (after civilian orgs failed), Indian Ocean region after their tsunami, Haiti after the earthquake, Japan after their tsunami, etc?

Re:Well that's fantastic (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540632)

As long as people are willing to trump all other methods with force, only force remains to deal with them.

Force trumps all and cares not a whit what you like.

Is is so new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534182)

Weren't pretty much all payloads at the beginning of the space put in orbit using an ICBM?

Re:Is is so new? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534656)

Yeah, and basically ever since.

The Soviet workhorse Soyuz is still directly descended from the world's first ICBM, the R-7, and the Proton is derived from a 100Mt ICBM design (though it was never produced as such).

The US Titan and Atlas launchers initially served as ICBMs under the same names, and the Delta family is derived from the Thor, the first US ICBM.

And the Chinese Long March 1 is derived from the Dongfeng 4, China's first ICBM, while the Long March 2-4 are derived from the successor Dongfeng 5.

Basically, the only entities who don't use a modified ICBM are the ones who don't have any; those who have been in space several decades (US and Russia) have or are developing dedicated launchers, since the requirements really don't match precisely, but the old designs are still in wide use.

Re:Is is so new? (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535514)

Except, IIRC, the Saturn V and the Shuttle - I don't remember their having direct ancestors in the ICBM families. Of course, R&D and operations experience from ICBM vehicles were critical for non-ICBM derived follow-ons...

Re:Is is so new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537108)

Actualy the whole Saturn series owes lineage to the V2. They also had the same designer.

Re:Is is so new? (1)

Sparrow1492 (1962256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537302)

Well, the shuttle SRBs use the same solid fuel concept developed for ICBM use, so there is an indirect lineage there as well.

Re:Is is so new? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537582)

But the Shuttle was a bigger waste of money.

And ICBM's never killed anybody, 14 people died in the 2 shuttle accidents.

Re:Is is so new? (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540164)

I find that hard to believe. Not *one* fueling accident in all those years?

In Soviet Russia (2)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534200)

Satellite launch cold-war missile.

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

GrimmParoD (2468306) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534962)

That may be the most chilling use of that meme EVER.

In Soviet Russia (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535040)

Meme chill YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

johnmorganjr (960148) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536288)

WHOA!!! WAIT!!! This is serious.... did'nt yall see wargames?

Re:In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537858)

Yes, that's pretty much exactly what they where thinking about doing...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOBS [wikipedia.org]

shades of the original GPS (MIL-STAR) program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534204)

little known, but explicitly documented is the fact that the original GPS program was proposed using recovered Jupiter ICBMs (to launch the satellites into their orbit(s) ) - recovered from Turkey after the Cuban missile crisis - even though they were "never really even there"

Junkyard Gap (2)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534278)

I'm just playing on one of my favorite films,

Dr. Strangelove [imdb.com]

And one the silliest made-for-tv movies,

Slavage 1" [imdb.com] .

Actually maybe old Jed really did know a good cracker when he tasted one. MMM, MMM!

Re:Junkyard Gap (1)

Temkin (112574) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535112)

Salvage 1 was actually a TV series... I remember its cancellation being one of my first introductions to the stupid inner workings of network TV as a pre-teen... The funny thing is... Completely out of the blue, I remembered that show today, but I was trying to remember it's name, and here you brought it up of Slashdot... Thanks!

It doesn't seem to be available on Hulu or Netflix, so I can't go back and see how corny it probably was...

Re:Junkyard Gap (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547206)

I don't remember watching any of the series, just the pilot movie which was apparently called "Salvage". There are a few clips of the movie and the series on youtube.

prc117 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534302)

I've used the PRC-117; its a curious beast of a radio. But it has totally plowshares missions -- communications in a disaster area (Hurricane Rita aftermath); better support for using these would rock.

Re:prc117 (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534762)

The TacSat-4 (or tactical microsatellite) lets the hundreds of thousands of military handheld radios currently in use communicate directly with an antenna orbiting in the most convenient spot imaginable: all that space overhead.

In a few years, just about any country with any sort of technological capability will be able to shoot down satellites. Satellite radios are all fine and dandy, but I think it would be best if those radios can also switch to a "PRC-117 Mode".

Re:prc117 (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536008)

The PRC-117 radios are the hundreds of thousands of military handheld radios they're referring to. TacSat-4 is just a new relay point (a really, really high altitude relay point).

Re:prc117 (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536416)

Yeah, I know... I used to use the PRC-25 set. :D Ahm old(ish)

Re:prc117 (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540768)

"I used to use the PRC-25 set."

"Pterodactyl 21, we have hostile Triceratops fording the river.
Request trebuchet fire on both banks, urgent!" (runs)

Re:prc117 (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37544294)

Nice.

Great Demonstration (1)

reasterling (1942300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534310)

This is a great way to demonstrate to the rest of the world that our old munitions are still capable.

Re:Great Demonstration (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534600)

and who exactly are we in need of showing this to? the rest of the world with ICBM's would expect nothing less as they would be in the same situation as us, and the ones that don't have ICBM's know we would never use them against them because of the international fallout that would accompany it.

UHF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534412)

That'll be impossible to jam.

Re:UHF (2)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538130)

It's been awhile.... but the mentioned "Prick" 117 has anti spoof anti jam capabilities (SINCGARS and HAVEQUICK), Basically frequency hoppers (amongst other shenanigans).

While possible to jam, it isn't easy. Voice comm still gets through along with heavily error corrected (and slow!) data streams.

The Next War (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534428)

The next war will be in space. He who controls orbit controls the planet. With control of orbital communications and weapons in support of ground troops it will be impossible to resist. We waste too much money building weapons to fight the last war. On to the next one.

Re:The Next War (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534640)

We waste too much money building weapons to fight the last war.

And so you've figured out part of the business plan of the "defense" industry.

Re:The Next War (2)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535380)

The next war will be in space.

Or possibly at the top of a very tall mountain. Either way, most of the actual fighting will be done by robots. Our mission is clear.

Re:The Next War (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536510)

A war in space would be cool........the sky above me is as boring as hell at the moment, and I love firework displays.

Not exactly a new idea. (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534480)

The Soyuz rocket is based on the R-7, the first soviet ICBM.

IIRC a modified R7 launched Sputnik, and well, they still launch Soyuz.

I wonder if Brazilian truckers will figure out how to use this satellite.

Re:Not exactly a new idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537396)

And we are talking about Russians and Americans using their own ICBMs to launch their own spacecrafts. But this October two european spacecrafts, belonging to the Galileo Constellation, will be launched by using a Soyuz. So russians are even making money out of their ICBMs, selleing them to ESA and the EU, which find them cheaper to use than building their own rockets.

Are they worth the price? (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534482)

If you're a mobile force, that requires a mobile infrastructure, the best place to put that infrastructure is in space

Or you could use use high-altitude aircraft for a tenth of the price. Satellites were a lot easier to justify when they were impregnable, but that hasn't been the case for awhile now, at least for low orbit.

Re:Are they worth the price? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537274)

Another thing is the transmission itself. Have your field radio reach the satellite instead of an overhead plane is a lot harder. I'd expect it takes more power too, which means bigger batteries or shorter battery life which both are not good for the soldier in the field.

But of course as soon as that satellite is there you're good. It has it's advantages over a plane that has to stay airborne nearby, or having a team following you with a base set.

Bet you can't use just one (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534620)

Sure, overhead is great and a good idea, particularly if it's only a few hundred miles up. But for a satellite to stay in place it has to be parked 22,000 miles over the equator. That means it takes more power to talk to, but most importantly that space is in very high demand. Any lower and it doesn't stay put over the battlefield, it orbits at a different speed than the earth's rotation. So to be really useful for this type of use you need several in orbit so that you can always get to one.

Re:Bet you can't use just one (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534692)

In other words, Iridium [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Bet you can't use just one (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536028)

TacSat isn't in geosync:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TacSat-4#Mission [wikipedia.org]

TacSat-4 will fly the highly elliptical, 4-hour, orbit (12,050 kilometers at peak) providing typical payload communication periods of two hours per orbit. TacSat-4’s orbit also allows it to cover the high latitudes.

TacSat was launched to allow coverage to existing military radios in locations not served by other satellite constellations.

Re:Bet you can't use just one (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536032)

Also:

Part of its capability is rapid (within 24 hours) reallocation to different Theater (warfare) theaters worldwide, in support of unexpected operations. Command and control of TacSat-4 will be performed at the NRL Satellite Operations Center at Blossom Point, Maryland. Payload tasking will be performed via the SIPRNet based Virtual Mission Operations Center (VMOC).

Re:Bet you can't use just one (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539240)

That makes sense. A satellite in a highly eliptical orbit can change its orbit much less expensively than one in a circular orbit. When it is high up its velocity is low and so your delta-v gets you a lot more bang for the buck (changing inclination/etc). When it is low to the earth you basically benefit from the slingshot effect if you want to change the orbital period.

Disclaimer - I'm an amateur when it comes to these things...

Not a missile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534654)

That was a rocket that was long ago supposed to propel a certain kind of missile. The missile is the thing that actually hits the target. What rocket it is bolted on is just a technical detail. Incidentally, the past few weeks on /. have been rather awful. Repeats, bullshit and crap instead of news.

we are broke... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534682)

how much money was wasted on this?!!!

All our wealth goes to the war class who oppress the indigenous at the periphery of the empire while the core of the empire rots.

This is how all empires fall. Just hope it happens sooner than later, so there is a better chance of a soft landing.

Zefram Cochrane launch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534900)

It won't be long until Zefram Cochrane launches his first warp ship off an ICBM.

PRC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534990)

So even military cellphones are made in the People's Republic of China?

Kodiak, Alaska launch facility (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535624)

Lost in this conversation is that this is part of the new usage for the Kodiak, Alaska launch facility. This program will be the launch point for many future educational and experimental satellites as they intend to focus on pico and microsats. With the cubesat program and these re-purposed launch vehicles they were talking $50k to put a project in space.

900lbs? Is it enough for a MANNED capsule? (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536134)

So I'm wondering if 900 lbs. would be enough for a tiny capsule, with minimal life support, to get a single person into orbit.

Of course this would probably preclude the use of any sort of re-entry shield or system and would make this a one way trip. Still this might have a few (desperate) applications, like sending up some rescue personnel to an orbiting spacecraft or the ISS. Or maybe there would be some more clandestine James Bond-esque application like the hijacking of an orbital vehicle.

On the other hand, what is the lightest possible re-entry shielding for a single human being? I once saw a proposal that a large FOAM dish could be used with a space suited individual. Because the combination of foam and spacesuit would be comparatively much less dense than a compact and heavy capsule, the re-entry would be much gentler, skimming the atmosphere over a long period of time and the heat load per unit area much less. Anyone know if that idea (or other unusual ideas) would work? How about the "paper" airplane the Japanese astronaut threw out of the ISS? Did anyone find it?

But perhaps the G-Forces on launch of this refurbished military launcher would be too great for a manned vehicle.

Re:900lbs? Is it enough for a MANNED capsule? (2)

andycal (127447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536620)

I'll bet the launch g-forces are way to high. ( the B in ICBM is balistic which I believe describes most of the flight ) plus, the thing probably doesn't nearly approach safety standards for human flight.

Re:900lbs? Is it enough for a MANNED capsule? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539648)

"I'll bet the launch g-forces are way to high. ( the B in ICBM is ballistic which I believe describes most of the flight )"
Just what does that have to do with anything? Just about any none winged rockets flight is ballistic! Ballistic has nothing to do with g loading.
Guess what the rocket that is used to put the Soyuz in orbit is a converted ballistic missile called the R-7.
The rocket that put John Glenn in orbit was a converted ballistic missile called the Atlas.
The rocket that put the Gemini capsules in orbit was a converted ballistic missile called the TitanII.
The real answer is, no 900 lbs is not enough for a manned mission. The Mercury space craft is about as small and bare boned as you would want to get was 2700 lbs. Even with modern materials cutting that in half would be hard and you still don't have room for a person.

Re:900lbs? Is it enough for a MANNED capsule? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37542168)

I don't know why andy thought the Ballistic part was important to mention, but he does have a point about G-limits. The human body can only endure so much acceleration before it essentially turns to mush. A number of non-human-rated launchers are desgined to deliver payloads fast, hard, and quickly (that's doubly true for missiles that are designed to kill shit before their launch is detected). That said, the G-loading on the peacekeepers is probably well above safe-limits for the human body to endure. Of course, that's just an educated guess on my part. But what do I know? I'm just a launch vehicle flight safety engineer...

Re:900lbs? Is it enough for a MANNED capsule? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548468)

Well It looks like about 4.6g at launch I don't have the stage weights and odds are very good that they do have them cores reduce thrust as they burn so yeah it would probably be a rough ride at best. It is the term ballistic that I found odd,

Re:900lbs? Is it enough for a MANNED capsule? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539488)

So I'm wondering if 900 lbs. would be enough for a tiny capsule, with minimal life support, to get a single person into orbit.

Probably.

Maybe.

You're talking about 700 pounds once you'e made allowance for the passenger. Which is a bit tight.

On the other hand, Mercury, sans heat shield and a lot of electronics (which are, of course, much lighter now) didn't weigh much more than that. And we have better material technology now, so a lighter mercury might be doable in 900 pounds.

Note, for reference, that a Falcon 9 can loft a Dragon capsule for only $50-odd million. Assuming you have a Dragon capsule, of course - not sure if SpaceX has bothered to set a price on the things yet.

ONR=ONI? (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536422)

I guess soon the ONR will be "rebranded" into ONI - Office of Naval Intelligence and this is just the begining. Get ready to kick some Covenant asses!!!

Re:ONR=ONI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539898)

Uh, both exist and are separate entities within DoN...

If you have to orbit, do it overhead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536732)

FTFA: orbiting in the most convenient spot imaginable: all that space overhead

Other news: NASA cancels plans for a subterranean orbiter. Seems that the space overhead is more convenient.

it's always good to remind your enemies ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537692)

... that you still know how to place a missile right where you want it.

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