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amstrad
2005-Mar-31, 08:15 PM
I put this topic in this category because this is generally where we put topics about The West Wing. For those that didn't catch last nights episode of The West Wing, the subplot went like this:

- There is a leak on ISS. The 2 astronauts and one cosmonaut have about 3 weeks of air remaining.
- "Neither" of the space shuttles are available for a rescue/repair mission due to "major overhauls"
- It comes to light that there is a secret military shuttle that could rescue the astronauts and they have been hiding the budget for this shuttle in solar flare detection satellites and GPS support
- They do not want to annouce its existance for fear of starting a race to militarize space

What do you guys think the probability is that the US military does in fact have its own astronaut carrying reusable re-entry vehicle?

kucharek
2005-Mar-31, 08:20 PM
Did they ignore the rescue-Soyuz that is always docked to the ISS or how did they "sabotage" this?


What do you guys think the probability is that the US military does in fact have its own astronaut carrying reusable re-entry vehicle?

Zero.

DodgerDean
2005-Mar-31, 08:24 PM
Zero.

Would be kinda hard to hide the launches wouldn't it?

The show ignored the Soyuz rescue capsule.

twinstead
2005-Mar-31, 08:31 PM
Zero.

Would be kinda hard to hide the launches wouldn't it?

Ah, not if they were powered by reverse-engineered alien technology gleaned from the alien spacefraft stored in Area 51! [-X

frenat
2005-Mar-31, 09:24 PM
Even if it was a spaceplane that flew high on jets then switched to rockets, it would be visible in orbit. I can pick out the shape of the ISS with binoculars, surely some amateur astronomer looking at satellite tracks would notice and look at it with a telescope or binocs and wonder what it was. Very, very unlikely (read we don't have it).

publiusr
2005-Mar-31, 11:24 PM
The Air Force isn't that smart. The fighter jocks hate space.

That is why we have all kinds of Stealth planes, and still use Titan rockets as old as B-52.

frenat
2005-Apr-01, 02:14 AM
Actually we still use old rockets mainly because we have stealth planes (and because they still work). There is only so much budget to go around and the high profile projects get what they need first then the space needs get less. There has been talk over the last ten years about separating the space forces into a completely separate branch of the military, either a full service like the Army, Navy, and Air Force or somewhat less like the Marine Corps or Coast Guard. So far it is just talk but it would allow a separate space force to compete directly at the DOD level for funding. They would also benefit from greater focus. However, the Air Force is of late really pushing the "air and space force" or sometimes "aerospace force" concept and the "seamless integration of air and space forces." Many higher-ups don't want a split.

Can you tell I researched this while in my commissioning source?

Amadeus
2005-Apr-01, 11:46 AM
To be honest I would be surprised that there isnt a shuttle used for military use.

Do the military rely on NASA personal for its missions? I.E maintaining and upgrading spy sats etc?

kucharek
2005-Apr-01, 12:27 PM
To be honest I would be surprised that there isnt a shuttle used for military use.

Do the military rely on NASA personal for its missions? I.E maintaining and upgrading spy sats etc?

The shuttle is sometimes used for military missions etc., but the question was, if there may be a secret shuttle the military is hiding.

Hazzard
2005-Apr-01, 12:56 PM
Seceret shuttle...... hmm...eee......NO!! #-o

Amadeus
2005-Apr-01, 01:31 PM
To be honest I would be surprised that there isnt a shuttle used for military use.

Do the military rely on NASA personal for its missions? I.E maintaining and upgrading spy sats etc?

The shuttle is sometimes used for military missions etc., but the question was, if there may be a secret shuttle the military is hiding.

The reason why I thought there might be is if you use a shuttle launch thats annouced it's a lot easyer to track and find out where the Spy sats are.

Just me thinking out loud...

frenat
2005-Apr-01, 02:11 PM
Aren't most satellites, including spy, launched by unmanned rockets? I think it is already know where high percentage of them are anyway.

TinFoilHat
2005-Apr-01, 03:02 PM
Surveilance sattelites are launched in polar orbits. The Shuttle can't reach a polar orbit from KSC, so it can't be used for launching or repairing polar orbit sattelites. There were plans in the early days of the shuttle program to build a second launch site in California that could be used for polar orbit launches, but those were scrapped.

Jorge
2005-Apr-01, 03:27 PM
how can you determen which orbets are reachable from a given loach possition on earth?

Ilya
2005-Apr-01, 03:39 PM
how can you determen which orbets are reachable from a given loach possition on earth?

From any given latitude you can only reach orbits with inclination equal or greater than that latitude. Kennedy Space Center is at 28 deg North, so you can launch from it only to orbits inclined 28 degrees or more. You can only launch to equatorial orbits from equator.

Notice that above means Shuttle COULD launch into polar orbits from Florida -- IF orbital physics were the only consideration. But such launch would involve dropping spent boosters and fuel tank onto populated areas -- either US or Brazil. Hence "the Shuttle can't reach a polar orbit from KSC". It CAN, but it MAY not :)

Jorge
2005-Apr-01, 04:31 PM
how can you determen which orbets are reachable from a given loach possition on earth?

From any given latitude you can only reach orbits with inclination equal or greater than that latitude. Kennedy Space Center is at 28 deg North, so you can launch from it only to orbits inclined 28 degrees or more. You can only launch to equatorial orbits from equator.

Notice that above means Shuttle COULD launch into polar orbits from Florida -- IF orbital physics were the only consideration. But such launch would involve dropping spent boosters and fuel tank onto populated areas -- either US or Brazil. Hence "the Shuttle can't reach a polar orbit from KSC". It CAN, but it MAY not :)

ok, that makes sens, wouldn't be so good a a huge peice of booster crashed into your house -_-

TinFoilHat
2005-Apr-01, 07:29 PM
Correct. When I say that the shuttle can't be launched into a polar orbit from KSC, I'm saying it in context of laws and launch requirements for dropping boosters and such. It's physically capable of doing so, but they're not allowed to.

joema
2005-Apr-01, 11:51 PM
As already mentioned, an entire shuttle launch complex was built at Vandenberg AFB in California, called SLC-6.

The plan was shuttles would fly military missions into polar orbit from SLC-6. This changed after the Challenger disaster.

http://www.aero.org/publications/crosslink/winter2003/05_sidebar1.html

From Florida the shuttle can reach at least a 62 degree inclination. It must either relax downrange safety rules or fly a "dogleg" trajectory to achieve this, which significantly hurts payload.

The shuttle Atlantis launched a secret military payload on STS-36, February 28, 1990. The orbital inclination was 62 degrees. It may have been a KH-12 recon sat.

Magpie1274
2005-Apr-03, 04:49 AM
incidentally, the explanation re: the Soyuz capsule was that the Russians "couldn't be ready in time", presumably because they were all loaded on vodka, or something.

Waarthog
2005-Apr-03, 07:52 AM
What do you guys think the probability is that the US military does in fact have its own astronaut carrying reusable re-entry vehicle?

1:1

Didn't you see Moonraker? How else would the Marines get up there? ;)

Jim
2005-Apr-03, 05:21 PM
incidentally, the explanation re: the Soyuz capsule was that the Russians "couldn't be ready in time", presumably because they were all loaded on vodka, or something.

There is a Soyuz capsule docked with the ISS at all times; it's there precisely for an emergency evacuation. I don't recall why it couldn't be used.

Magpie1274
2005-Apr-05, 03:23 AM
i'm sure there *is* a capsule docked at all times, but i don't remember anyone mentioning it during the episode. They did, however, go to the trouble of ruling out a Russian rescue launch.