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sarongsong
2005-May-18, 05:10 AM
May 18
"..."We haven't reached the point of strafing and bombing from space," Pete Teets, who stepped down last month as the acting secretary of the Air Force, told a space warfare symposium last year. "Nonetheless, we are thinking about those possibilities."...no treaty or law bans Washington from putting weapons in space, barring weapons of mass destruction..."
NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/18/business/18space.html?ei=5065&en=60787fcf0b0f012c&ex=111699 3600&adxnnl=1&partner=MYWAY&adxnnlx=1116389179-cuLSydFa9CCBN0MvzsfilA&pagewanted=print)

Rich
2005-May-18, 05:38 PM
May 18
"..."We haven't reached the point of strafing and bombing from space," Pete Teets, who stepped down last month as the acting secretary of the Air Force, told a space warfare symposium last year. "Nonetheless, we are thinking about those possibilities."...no treaty or law bans Washington from putting weapons in space, barring weapons of mass destruction..."
NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/18/business/18space.html?ei=5065&en=60787fcf0b0f012c&ex=111699 3600&adxnnl=1&partner=MYWAY&adxnnlx=1116389179-cuLSydFa9CCBN0MvzsfilA&pagewanted=print)

Bah! So many Air Force leaders and planners have been having wet dreams about becoming the "United States Space Force" for so long that we've incorporated the term into almost everything we do. For example, we are officially the provider of Aerospace force projection (emphasis mine). Any phrase that you can think of that might have include the word "air" has been changed to use "aerospace" instead. Air Defense -> Aerospace Defense... Aerial Surveillance and Reconnaissance -> Aerospace Surveillance and Recce... etc. Now in some cases it's totally waranted and surveillance is probably one of those places (we do use satellites extensively you know). But, I clearly remember going through some Air Force courses and saying... "Gee, I didn't know that we provided the premier Aerospace troop deployment service in the world... yet..."

Now a big part of this has been due to a little competition with our brothers and sisters in the Navy. The Navy owns some space assets too and there has always been a bit of wrangling about which service will ultimately be in control. Even though everyone is getting waaaaay ahead of themselves with this stuff they take it rather seriously. The Air Force sees activities outside the atmosphere as natural extension of atmospheric flight... and the Navy likes to project to a time when we have seriously large scale space operations and believes that future space operations will be much more like current surface-fleet operations in terms of skillsets, crew compositions, spacial-navigation, and other techniques (basically, they're dreaming of a space navy). There are pros and cons to both sides, but clearly we are closer to the Air Force's vision than to the Navy's. That doesn't keep the two sides from occassionally fighting about it though.

It got so bad about 10-15 years ago, that the some in the Air Force seriously floated a proposal to create a new Space branch of service separate and distinct from the AF, but peeling off all current Air Force space operations (missiles, satellites, radars, even weather) and using them as the foundation for the Space Force... thereby preempting the Navy. The proposal didn't get very far (even within the USAF chain-of-command) but I don't think it was supposed to.

Like I said, these guys are all waaaay ahead of themselves, but the services are always angling for future money and power over their peers... so there are some who spend maybe a bit too much time looking way ahead. It is fun thinking about the new uniforms though. I liked the idea of black slacks with grey shirts and all silver insignia. Of course the dress uniform jacket would also have to be grey (maybe a darker grey)... otherwise we might look a little bit like SS troops.

And keep in mind that my overall impression of all of this was only that of a new officer and avid reader. I had no official insight or input into that process what-so-ever. It was just very neat to be around as an interested observer during those times. Frankly, I doubt most people in the Air Force even know that some of this stuff occured or why.

As for weapons in space, I believe we are prohibited from placing any nukes in space and from taking actions leading to the "militarization of space". Just exactly what the second allows in questionable... obviously space-based bombimg platforms are not ok, but we know that surveillance and anti-sat weapons are ok... so there is some room for interpretation there.

sarongsong
2005-May-18, 07:24 PM
Good points, Rich---thanks. Driving along Interstate 5 in San Diego a few years ago, I was surprised to see a large building complex marked SPAWAR (http://www.spawar.navy.mil/sandiego/)---Space and Naval Warfare Systems. Had never heard of it before, and it conjured up quite an image in my teeny little mind.

mopc
2005-May-19, 02:07 AM
How far are we from an airplane that can reach orbit?

Crazieman
2005-May-19, 03:41 AM
The inter-force feuding that goes on is silly.

There needs to be a seperate US Space Force. Who cares where the personnel come from.

sarongsong
2005-May-19, 06:23 AM
How far are we from an airplane that can reach orbit?Oh...about 150 miles (242 km) (http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/satellite3.htm), depending on its orbital velocity... :D

Argos
2005-May-19, 02:08 PM
Interesting... In fiction, the military force in space is the Navy.

Raptor1967
2005-May-19, 04:03 PM
I allways thought it would be a combination of the different forces that would make up the space corps. I could see the navy being responsible for long term voyages, Air force in charge of fighter squads and fast combat forces and the marines would be responsible for boarding parties and landfall missions. they all have skills in these areas, Depending on one group or another would be silly in my opinion.

sarongsong
2005-May-19, 05:08 PM
How far are we from an airplane that can reach orbit?May 18, 2005 (http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/avflash/404-full.html#189789)
"...SpaceDev...has just about completed its plan for a safe, affordable launch system -- the SpaceDev Dream Chaser -- that could carry six passengers into low earth orbit...suborbital test flights by 2008, and manned test flights to orbit by 2010..."
http://www.avweb.com/newspics/spacedev.jpg

publiusr
2005-May-19, 07:12 PM
I saw the art work over at Pop Sci. It looks like an X-34 hybrid version of a mini-Energia-Buran stack.

The Air Force actually hates space. The fighter-jocks there want 200 billion dolar joint strike fighters. They made life really hard for Pete Worden. So I have no use for Mr. Teets and John Jumper--who I attacked in my Space Daily piece IS THE AIR FORCE THE ENEMY OF SPACE.

It was pulled down due to pressure.

There is a new ARES winged rocket-booster--but my guess is that the Boeing Bought Blue-Suits will award the contract to Boeing so they can sit on it to prevent compition with their Deltas.

That's why I call it the Air Farce. Run by, for, and of the pilots union.

collegeguy
2005-May-20, 05:05 PM
These attempts of changing in the space policies are not going well. Look at this article:

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/3b1030dc-c804-11d9-9765-00000e2511c8,ft_acl=,s01=2.html

John Kierein
2005-May-20, 06:15 PM
"Thunder rods" or "Rods from God" are apparently in the budget already.
These slender titanium rods with fins re-enter from space and hit with a kinetic energy equal to a nuke. Penetrate deep. Destroys things like North Korea's underground facilities. Low frequency space based ground penetrating radar like the one on the Mars Express orbiter finds the underground facility and then the Thunder Rod destroys it.

http://www.space.com/news/rumsfeld_space_020204.html

http://www.earthfiles.com/news/news.cfm?ID=911&category=Science

One could imagine that the thunder rod would have a ceramic nose and be loaded with depleted uranium metal to provide a high mass to area ratio for re-entry without burning up.

collegeguy
2005-May-20, 08:40 PM
The russians don't seem to be taking the change in space policies well. They might even use force if we deploy weapons to space:

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/3b1030dc-c804-11d9-9765-00000e2511c8,ft_acl=,s01=2.html

Lurker
2005-May-20, 08:45 PM
Ya know why there aren't any alien civilizations looking to contact us?? Because there's no intelligent life here. They figure why bother with some messed up species that's just gunna blow themselves outa the water before they ever have a chance to mature!!

publiusr
2005-May-20, 09:22 PM
Just remember--there were folks in England in pacifist movements who thought the same way about the Hawker-Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. They thought such fighters would also be "destabilizing" and would encourage the Germans to build more bombers.

Then the Battle Of Britain proved them wrong. Same here. The Soviet 100 ton Polyus platform didn't provoke an attack from us after all.

Lurker
2005-May-20, 09:31 PM
Just remember--there were folks in England in pacifist movements who thought the same way about the Hawker-Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. They thought such fighters would also be "destabilizing" and would encourage the Germans to build more bombers.

Then the Battle Of Britain proved them wrong. Same here. The Soviet 100 ton Polyus platform didn't provoke an attack from us after all.
Yeah well I see nothing stabilizing in being the first to militarize space. It will only force others to develop the same capabilities. There aren't any weapons in space at this point, why are we so bent on being the first??

collegeguy
2005-May-20, 10:02 PM
Just remember--there were folks in England in pacifist movements who thought the same way about the Hawker-Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. They thought such fighters would also be "destabilizing" and would encourage the Germans to build more bombers.

Then the Battle Of Britain proved them wrong. Same here. The Soviet 100 ton Polyus platform didn't provoke an attack from us after all.
Yeah well I see nothing stabilizing in being the first to militarize space. It will only force others to develop the same capabilities. There aren't any weapons in space at this point, why are we so bent on being the first??

I hope this is settled by the two countries without a confrontation. It is stupid to cause a genocide over these matters.

Crazieman
2005-May-20, 10:28 PM
Just remember--there were folks in England in pacifist movements who thought the same way about the Hawker-Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. They thought such fighters would also be "destabilizing" and would encourage the Germans to build more bombers.

Then the Battle Of Britain proved them wrong. Same here. The Soviet 100 ton Polyus platform didn't provoke an attack from us after all.
Yeah well I see nothing stabilizing in being the first to militarize space. It will only force others to develop the same capabilities. There aren't any weapons in space at this point, why are we so bent on being the first??

Tell me with a straight face that China won't stick weapons in space as their programs get better.

Lurker
2005-May-21, 01:13 AM
Just remember--there were folks in England in pacifist movements who thought the same way about the Hawker-Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. They thought such fighters would also be "destabilizing" and would encourage the Germans to build more bombers.

Then the Battle Of Britain proved them wrong. Same here. The Soviet 100 ton Polyus platform didn't provoke an attack from us after all.
Yeah well I see nothing stabilizing in being the first to militarize space. It will only force others to develop the same capabilities. There aren't any weapons in space at this point, why are we so bent on being the first??

Tell me with a straight face that China won't stick weapons in space as their programs get better.
Well maybe if we negotiate the issue first rather than sticking weapons in space first and force their hand.

Cylinder
2005-May-21, 08:32 PM
Well maybe if we negotiate the issue first rather than sticking weapons in space first and force their hand.

What would be the risk involved in relying on that strategy? What does history point to as the likely outcome?

mopc
2005-May-22, 02:11 AM
How far are we from an airplane that can reach orbit?May 18, 2005 (http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/avflash/404-full.html#189789)
"...SpaceDev...has just about completed its plan for a safe, affordable launch system -- the SpaceDev Dream Chaser -- that could carry six passengers into low earth orbit...suborbital test flights by 2008, and manned test flights to orbit by 2010..."
http://www.avweb.com/newspics/spacedev.jpg

Fantastic, but how likely is that to actually happen? Manned orbital flight by 2010???????????? I wish I could believe that.

electromagneticpulse
2005-May-22, 02:29 PM
"Vision For 2020" PDF (http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/usspac/visbook.pdf)

When a document keeps saying "Dominate Space" "Full Spectrum Dominance" oh and my favourite "Control of space is the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space, if required."

Or how about "... the united states may evolve into the guardian of space commerce--similar to the historical example of navies protecting sea commerce." Well last time I checked the history books navies were protecting sea commerce from Nazi U-Boats, that started attacking sea commerce in the first place. Now if we follow the historical example lets expect the US to start bombarding everyone’s space-com interests. The fact they keep saying "Dominance" doesn't alleviate my worries about the US putting weapons in space.

Also why is the air force getting into it? Granted their will likely be fighter craft in space but more likely battleships will be the most important military asset in space and I'd rather have some trained professionals running them rather than some rookies who've spent their lives on land or in a single man fighter craft. Plus the experience of the navy would be more helpful as you can't stop a boat straight off and their experience in mass being crucial to start and stops could be helpful, I mean make a false start or stop and you end up being a several hundred ton object falling onto your planet.

Cylinder
2005-May-22, 04:10 PM
Also why is the air force getting into it? Granted their will likely be fighter craft in space but more likely battleships will be the most important military asset in space and I'd rather have some trained professionals running them rather than some rookies who've spent their lives on land or in a single man fighter craft.


Rookies? Wow. There are probably a few airmen on this forum that will have a problem with that comment. Consider me one.



Plus the experience of the navy would be more helpful as you can't stop a boat straight off and their experience in mass being crucial to start and stops could be helpful, I mean make a false start or stop and you end up being a several hundred ton object falling onto your planet.

This argument pretty much speaks for itself. I have no dog in this hunt, but I will correct a couple of points. First, you have as much freedom of "stopping" an orbital platform as you do a "stopping" an aircraft in flight. You can do both if you are willing (and sometimes even without that willingness) to abide the consequences.

Second, the bulk of the Navy navigates in two dimensions. We get three.

Third, SpaceCom is already a joint services command - just like almost every other major command. There's no real useful distiction between the various services aside from funding. That's where the real battle lays.

electromagneticpulse
2005-May-22, 05:08 PM
Rookies? Wow. There are probably a few airmen on this forum that will have a problem with that comment. Consider me one.

I didn't mean no offence but does the airforce coordinate a couple of hundred men on a single craft?

Also the navy does work in 3 dimensions as it uses subs as well, which would be a useful knowledge to be passed on catching fire in space would be enough to kill the crew.

I didn't mean to be insulting just I see far more skills the navy has that translate to space then the airforce. If I could pick one I would pick the navy, but without a doubt the airforce would have vital skills if it ever came to space combat where they've had decades of practice in dogfights just the inability to stop with ease might come into it.

publiusr
2005-May-25, 07:15 PM
I think the goal should be commonality. A system that gives us large launch vehicles can put both space-based platforms and moon-ships up there--better than spending billions on unrealated silos for ABMs while using EELVs for NASA missions.

That is the worst way to waste money.