PDA

View Full Version : Wars in space



BigJim
2003-Apr-06, 09:37 PM
How do you feel about ASAT (Antisatellite) technology and SDI? Should ASAT weapons and space-based lasers be eliminated, or are they a healthy development of space?

Personally, I am totally against wars in space; look what we have done on this planet. In space, we have to chance to start fresh and peacefully.

If you want some information before responding, go to www.astronautix.com/craft/mancraft.html and browse the ASAT section.

Glom
2003-Apr-06, 10:49 PM
I am a strong believer in the principles of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. I know that the military uses satellites for observation. I don't have a problem with that as long as all they can do is provide information. That's why I'd prefer NASA to be the one leading space development rather than USAF unless they declare their honourable intentions.

skeptED56
2003-Apr-06, 11:03 PM
I don't think weapons should be in space because it can only spread the us vs. them attitude. However, no matter what, weapons could be "cobbled together." For example, a mass launcher on the Moon used for sending lunar material into lagrange, Lunar, or Geo sync orbit could be used to send huge chunks of rock straight at the Earth. Some sort of UN run software should then be required to monitor everything that can be used as a weapon. Of course if space is dominated by commercial and scientific enterprises it is less likely this scenario could occur.

Colt
2003-Apr-06, 11:58 PM
I chose the last option. But only if it were like MAD. Keeping the world's power balance in check. Look what happened in the Middle-East after the fall of the USSR. If the Chinese got hold of some sort of laser-based weaponry and stuck it in orbit we would need to counteract that.

I am reminded of the game Parasite Eve II. In that game they use an old SDI weapon (I think it is a coil gun) in orbit to bombard this spot in the desert which has been infested. I think that it may have been originally meant to shoot down other satellites. Very good game either way.

We do not need those type of weapons up there unless they are truly needed for the defense of a country against its foe. -Colt

Bill Thmpson
2003-Apr-07, 08:24 AM
how do I vote?

kucharek
2003-Apr-07, 08:43 AM
There are no "defensive-only" weapons.

And, one nice anti-satellite battle in earth orbit and we can forget spaceflight for a long, long time, due to all the debris we have then in all kinds or orbits. We've polluted earth enough, let's keep space clean (I know, that collides somehow with all the urine dumps, waste dumps and waste jettisioned in orbit and on the moon...).

Harald

informant
2003-Apr-07, 11:01 AM
I voted no, although...

I think weapons in space could be justified if we came up against an enemy from another planet (aliens, or a former colony of ours). Of course we don't have that.
But if the question had been 'Do you think weapons will one day be deployed in space?', then my answer would have been a 'Yes.' The older I get, the lower my opinion of human nature is. If we ever settle in space, we'll be sure to take our worst with us. Former treaties won't matter a thing once the money starts rolling. (After all, it does make the firmament go round...)

kilopi
2003-Apr-07, 11:56 AM
how do I vote?
Click on a radio button and then Submit.

gethen
2003-Apr-07, 12:31 PM
I voted no. Defensive or offensive, if you have a weapon, the intent is to use it. I agree with Harald.

David Hall
2003-Apr-07, 01:03 PM
It's not a question of should. When we get right down to it, nobody should ever need weapons at all. But the realities of life and human nature make such things necessary. One person or nations develops weapons in order to inflict their will on others, and the threatened in turn must obtain weapons to defend themselves from the aggressors.

So the real question is not should, but will they be used in space. And the answer to that is whether there is a perceived need for such. Will aggressor nations feel they can gain an advantage? Will other nations feel the need to defend themselves? My belief is--probably yes, eventually. Will such actions be justified? That's unanswerable at this time.

logicboy
2003-Apr-07, 01:24 PM
I voted yes
What about weapons to destroy earth bound objects, I know we don’t have anything now that can take out anything large but we might in the future and space would be a good place to put up defenses against that type of threat

traztx
2003-Apr-07, 05:56 PM
I chose "no" because a space weapon will be a valid and legal target during wars. Space tech nations will destroy such weapons when they are threatened by them, polluting space with additional hazardous material. But I also thing space weapons inevitable, right or wrong.

I predict that GPS will be destroyed if we continue using their data to guide bombs.

BigJim
2003-Apr-07, 09:05 PM
Undoubetedly space wars will create huge amounts of debris in space, which could shred up satellites in many orbits. The EMP pulse from a thermonuclear detonation could be really dangerous to all satellites. I think that some weapons will be deployed, but there is another aspect to the question:

1) What about planetary defense, namely against asteroids?

2) How about ground and air-launched conventional ASAT weapons?

crazy4space
2003-Apr-07, 09:58 PM
Why? Would we feel the need to continue to feed the war machine even to the extent of having weapons in space? My vote is a resounding no.

Nanoda
2003-Apr-08, 10:41 AM
This question might seem spacy, but I assure you it's almost all political. (Having weapons you don't want to use is called politics. Nukes are in this category) This has no positives, and way too many negatives.

Country X puts up some type of shield a la Brilliant Pebbles (probably doesn't work well, but whatever). Countries Y and Z don't trust X, so they either develop new weapons that can get through/trick it, or put up their own shields that don't work well. Rinse, repeat. Now everyone is out ### trillion, the sky is full of useless junk, and everyone's got twice as many weapons as before. No good.

Lessay only one country puts them up somehow. Even if you like that country, how would you feel having to make a phone call every time your country launched a rocket, just to be somewhat sure it wouldn't get blown out of the sky? I'd be bloody annoyed at the arrogance, frankly; it's my sky too.

As for asteroid deflection, etc, sure. But I'd still vote no, as 1: We can't do anything with what we've got, and 2: Nothing in your question addresses that.

Logicboy: do you mean earthbound, or earth bound? The difference is important. If the former, then sure. If the latter, then I proclaim you to be insane!. Ahem. :)

To all those who voted yes: I'm a nice guy. I live in Canada. I don't worry that someone's gonna kill me randomly. I'm not sure if the door is locked at 3am. If I find out someone's got a way of destroying random hunks of real estate hanging overhead, my new cause in life is finding out who is responsable and breaking their fingers so they can't use it. I guarantee there's no better way of putting yourself in jeopardy than making yourself one of these.

P.S. - FYI, I'm in the camp that sez MAD works not. It results only in proliferation and brinksmanship. If you want the world to be safer, you can start by getting rid of some nukes, a la SALT, SALT2, etc.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-08, 05:03 PM
I voted no. For one thing we have enough ways of blowing each other up, and no doubt will have more ways too in the future. As for a defensive system? Totally impractical. All through history there has been a battle between the edge and the shield. Ultimately the edge wins. It is easier to build a bullet then the armour to defeat it.

Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-08, 05:25 PM
I'm a no-er myself...but sadly...I think it's pretty niave to think they won't inevitably end up there. I put "no" simply on the opinion that if the question had been "should weapons, of any kind, be on the planet earth"...I would also put "no"...but, I realize that that's philosophical idealism to the max...so..uh..we'd all better get our umbrellas before the anvils land.

darkhunter
2003-Apr-08, 07:06 PM
Probem is, anything can be used as a weopon...

BigJim
2003-Apr-08, 09:12 PM
Probem is, anything can be used as a weapon...

True in a philosophical sense, but I don't think we'll be launching bananas at our enemies anytime soon.


I put "no" simply on the opinion that if the question had been "should weapons, of any kind, be on the planet earth"...I would also put "no"...but, I realize that that's philosophical idealism to the max

I understand fully and also agree with you, but I am asking the question of having weapons in space in a realistic space. Perhaps it should be phrased: Do you think weapons will be in space, and how do you feel about them?


As for a defensive system? Totally impractical. All through history there has been a battle between the edge and the shield. Ultimately the edge wins. It is easier to build a bullet then the armour to defeat it.

Are you saying our approach to asteroids should be "Sit tight and die?" H-bombs are the easiest and currently most available method for deflecting planet-killing asteroids. Ion and nuclear engines are feasible for the future, but we MUST be prepared to blast nuclear weapons in space to deflect asteroids (Although nuclear engines are FAR more efficient.)

Next general question posed: What about planetary defense and defense against (however unlikely) alien invasion?

daver
2003-Apr-08, 10:08 PM
Next general question posed: What about planetary defense and defense against (however unlikely) alien invasion?

I'd say to leave off the alien invasion part--there's unlikely to be any point. Maybe a guerilla war would be of some use, but space-based weapons would likely be less useful than spears against an M1.

RickNZ
2003-Apr-08, 10:12 PM
If Iraq had satillites spying on the continental US and used them for GPS guidance of precision bombing then the US would be making use of satillite busting technology im sure they have stashed away. (they certianly were developing it like everyone else leading up to the treaty.)

The US has always stored all possible forms of weaponry as insurance regardless of treaties. The US has done its fair share of law breaking and treaty dissovling in very recent times. The 1967 would be no exception.

Part of the reason why it still exists in the mind of the purists is simply because the US has a virtual monopoly on spy satillites in comparison to its modern day enemies like North Korea etc.

ps: In 1943, after the invasion of Salerno, a Luftwaffe attack on the Italian port of Bari managed to hit an American cargo vessel carrying tonnes of mustard gas. Nobody ashore knew what the ship was carrying, and were oblivious to the wandering fumes. As for the survivors of the sinking, many were found alive in the water, but covered in oil from the ship and mustard gas particles floating on the surface. Hours after being rescued, these sailors began a tormented and very painful death. The US security service made sure all witnesses were sworn to secrecy, and the incident was covered up until long after the end of hostilities.

The gas was there as a 'just in case'.

pps: A 'space war' would almost certianly speed up the development of new space technology IMHO.

RickNZ
2003-Apr-08, 10:15 PM
Next general question posed: What about planetary defense and defense against (however unlikely) alien invasion?

I'd say to leave off the alien invasion part--there's unlikely to be any point. Maybe a guerilla war would be of some use, but space-based weapons would likely be less useful than spears against an M1.

Or sandle wearing AK toting militia vs m48's, f4 phantoms and nukeular(modern pronounciation) weapons?

Or perhaps turban wearing, ute driving tribesman vs migs, hinds and t72's?

We just dont know do we.

daver
2003-Apr-08, 11:35 PM
We just dont know do we.

We do know hard interstellar travel is, and how pathetic we are at it. An invasion fleet would have orders of magnitude more mass in their fleet than we have ever launched. Even if they didn't have directed energy weapons, it would be trivial for them to take out anything bigger than a paint chip in earth orbit. Any space-based weapon i can conceive of would be neutralized long before it could become a threat.

I said that guerilla attacks might work. Whether they would stand a chance depends on why the aliens are invading. If it's a "Nice planet, we'll take it" invasion, where they're more interested in replacing the native biosphere with their own, we don't stand a chance. If it's an anal probe invasion, where the aliens want us for biological experiments or slaves, some sort of an underground resistance is possible. Something could be done there (like burying caches of military hardware throughout the country. These caches would have to be hidden from the aliens but accessible to humans. You might ask yourself how likely it is that Bush would have millions of small arms (probably up to RPGs) buried in unsecured locations around the country).

skeptED56
2003-Apr-09, 12:00 AM
If aliens perfect interstellar travel I doubt they will go "Hey now we can invade Earth!" If a species had enough peace among themselves to put the kind of rescources and labor into research and development I think conquest would be the last thing on their minds. Plus, seeing as we have not intercepted any extraterrestial signals near us, they would have to be quite a distance away. Meaning even if they knew their was a big shiny blue planet (by using advance telescopes/some other method), they would be viewing it as it was hundreds or thousands of years ago(or more). they wouldn't be prepared to invade when they got here (unless they had FTL, but that's unlikely). And if they do want to change Earth's biosphere to thier own, they would have a tricky time making war on us without us using our nuclear weapons, rendering Earth unusable for anyone. So the best they could do is get us to mess up our own planet, but we can do that by ourselves, can't we? :wink:

RickNZ
2003-Apr-09, 12:19 AM
Daver, just a comparison take it how you will.

Europe has little or no ability to project its military power. However if any army in the world invades Europe theyll certainly receive the sharp end of a large motivated well trained and equiped army/s.

My other point is that never give up trying always resist to the best of your ability and youll never know what may happen.

Colt
2003-Apr-09, 12:39 AM
IMHO I believe that we already have space based weaponry up there right now from the Cold War. Not saying it is anything more advanced than nuclear missiles (IKON) but I am sure it is up there.

I am pretty sure we have air-launched ASAT technology. -Colt

Argos
2003-Apr-09, 01:33 AM
NO, NO, NO. Donīt you think there are already enough weapons down here? :)

Space people donīt kill. The future is null for a technological civilization with destructive impulses. No to weapons in space, and on the surface alike.

BigJim
2003-Apr-09, 02:25 AM
I am pretty sure we have air-launched ASAT technology.

It is not a matter of guessing- we most certainly do. If you go to http://www.astronautix.com/craft/asat.htm you can even see a picture of it. The ASAT F-15 launched missile was a two-stage missile that carried a small homing vehicle to destroy the enemy satellite by impacting it. The ASAT missile actually launched and destroyed a target satellite on September 13, 1985.


In 1943, after the invasion of Salerno, a Luftwaffe attack on the Italian port of Bari managed to hit an American cargo vessel carrying tonnes of mustard gas. Nobody ashore knew what the ship was carrying, and were oblivious to the wandering fumes. As for the survivors of the sinking, many were found alive in the water, but covered in oil from the ship and mustard gas particles floating on the surface. Hours after being rescued, these sailors began a tormented and very painful death. The US security service made sure all witnesses were sworn to secrecy, and the incident was covered up until long after the end of hostilities.


Not that I don't believe you, but do you have a source for this?

I would like to suggest that we move on to the more realistic question of asteroid deflection. Should we set up a space-based network of nuclear missiles, or get NTR and NEP into production? (I would take the second option. Go to http://www.ssi.org/asteroid_deflection.html or geo-central.ucdavis.edu/~gel36/Jake/Asteroiddeflectionsite.html for more information. The book Entering Space by Robert Zubrin has a great discussion of asteroid deflection techniques.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 01:09 PM
BigJim: When I stated that a "defensive system" was totally impractical" I was assuming we were talking about as a missle defense system against other Human enemies. Now that I am here I will expand upon the impractical. For instance in Gulf War I the Iraqi use of Scud B's against the allies and the Israelies was carried out without any effective counter. What makes this interesting is that Scud technology is based on WWII German tech; on the other hand Patriot(first generation) tech was 80's era tech. Flash forward to the 21st century. Now we have missles and rockets that can be fired from the ground, sea, and the air. These offensive weopons are: faster, more accurate, much more maneuverable; furthermore, some of these systems are MERVed(multiple warheads), and some systems have decoys! Add to this list space borne delivery systems, which upon firing would already be travelling at orbital velocities, the night mare is complete. I am sure that a SDI system would intercept a few---but realistically---a defensive system would not stand a chance. A defensive system would be, indeed, completely impractical.

Stuart
2003-Apr-09, 06:11 PM
I'm afraid this question is wrongly phrased - or at least based on a false premise. It isn't really a question of whether or should weaponry will be deployed in space but when it will be and who by. For the record, there is not one single case of a class of weapon being eliminated by treaty (or other agreement). Weapons have ceased to be used because they are obsolete or ineffective but never because they have been banned. Run down the list of "banned weapons" and we can see how ineffective the approach is.

Crossbows? 'nuff said.
Triangular bayonets? Seen the bayonet on a Chinese SKS?
Explosive bullets? Look at the cannon on any military aircraft
Poison gas? yeah right
Biowarfare? See above
Landmines? Sure the bad guys aren't going to make them - anybody can turn the wretched things out

I don't like it any more than anybody else here but the deployment of weapons in space is inevitable. - provided they have a discernable military value. The only way the deployment can be prevented is to make sure that such weaponry is militarily ineffective. That probably means creating a ground-based system that can shoot down space-based systems with a very high degree of probability - thus making orbital systems obsolescent.

All the arguments placed against the deployment of space-based weapons are perfectly reasonable but they miss the point. If such weapons offer a major or decisive military advantage, somebody, somewhere will deploy them.

Stuart
2003-Apr-09, 06:30 PM
It is not a matter of guessing- we most certainly do. If you go to http://www.astronautix.com/craft/asat.htm you can even see a picture of it. The ASAT F-15 launched missile was a two-stage missile that carried a small homing vehicle to destroy the enemy satellite by impacting it. The ASAT missile actually launched and destroyed a target satellite on September 13, 1985.

Actually we most certainly do not. The F-15 ASAT system did a series of test shots in the late 1980s but was cancelled thereafter. Only five rounds were made and they were scrapped some years ago after cracks were found in the solid propellent of the booster. Technically, we could revive that capability but we would need a fair time to do that; not only would we need to rebuild the missiles but we would also need to have F-15s dedicated to that role - they have to be stripped down to get into the launch envelope. We could also use the new YAL-1A as an ASAT weapon when that enters service (if...) . Finally, any nation with nuclear weapons and IRBM technology has a crude ASAT system; just toss the device into LEO and initiate it.


In 1943, after the invasion of Salerno, a Luftwaffe attack on the Italian port of Bari managed to hit an American cargo vessel carrying tonnes of mustard gas. Nobody ashore knew what the ship was carrying, and were oblivious to the wandering fumes. As for the survivors of the sinking, many were found alive in the water, but covered in oil from the ship and mustard gas particles floating on the surface. Hours after being rescued, these sailors began a tormented and very painful death. The US security service made sure all witnesses were sworn to secrecy, and the incident was covered up until long after the end of hostilities.

Not that I don't believe you, but do you have a source for this?

The story is correct; its a very well-known incident.

www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq104-4.htm

Stuart
2003-Apr-09, 06:38 PM
For instance in Gulf War I the Iraqi use of Scud B's against the allies and the Israelies was carried out without any effective counter. What makes this interesting is that Scud technology is based on WWII German tech; on the other hand Patriot(first generation) tech was 80's era tech.

The Patriots used in the Second Gulf War were never intended for anti-missile use; they were anti-aircraft weapons used right at the edge of their operational envelope. Also, their warheads were designed to explode in proximity to a target and that isn't a good idea against missiles. The new PAC-3s have done stunningly well against ballistic missiles in the current conflict - score is ten for ten. (IFFs a problem but so be it.)

There's nothing really difficult in hitting ballistic missiles - we were doing that quite regularly 40 years ago. To the difficulties you allude to were also solved a long time ago. The problem is linking all the disparate bits up into a system; that costs money but is doable. Missile defense systems are very practical indeed - as the Third Gulf War is showing.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 06:44 PM
I agree with you Stuart. Placing weapons in space would be a logical step in advanced OFFENSIVE weaponry. IT is not like mankind has volunteered total abandonment of any complete weapon system. The "when---and who by" will be decided by money, expertise, and will. At this point in history only the U.S., perhaps, fits these three criteria. In the next fifty or so years will tell a different story. China comes to mind; but contrary to popular opinion the Chinese don't have the history for global hegemany. Maybe if they figured that some local power(read Japan)imperilled them. Europe? Doubtful. It is going to take them an other hundred years to deal with their own back yard. Japan? Not without American concent; furthermore, The Japanese would not want to upset the Chinese to much. Who else?

Stuart
2003-Apr-09, 07:05 PM
I agree with you Stuart. Placing weapons in space would be a logical step in advanced OFFENSIVE weaponry. IT is not like mankind has volunteered total abandonment of any complete weapon system. The "when---and who by" will be decided by money, expertise, and will. At this point in history only the U.S., perhaps, fits these three criteria.

The only difference between an offensive weapon and a defensive weapon is that an offensive weapon is pointed at you while a defensive weapon is pointed by you. China may, or may not, have a desire for global hegemony but they may perceive the possession of a space-based weapons system as being essential to deter an attack on them by ...... somebody. China's been kicked around enough in the past to make that a reasonable strategic option. Historicallly, Japan has never cared particularly what China thinks. Russia may get back in the game - it seems unlikely at the moment but the rise of Germany to being a world threat seemed implausible in 1929. India has a quite capable scientific sector - they're making ballistic missiles now and are toying with some advanced equipment.

I really do think the "should we" part of this question is irrelevent. Somebody is going to start putting weaponry into orbit regardless of what everybody else thinks about it. Could be China, could be Russia, Could be Europe, could be "the Caliphate", could be India. Doesn't matter. The dynamics of the way armament expenditure works means that somebody will. Therefore, the question is not "should we" but "what do we do about it". My guess is that the simplest "what" is to make such systems militarily ineffective by establish countermeasures or deterrents. Agreements "not to" are simply wasting time.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 07:18 PM
Stuart said that "[t]he new PAC-3's have done stunningly well---". I can not argue with that. But the military and the government, pick any country, are very reticent in telling how successful/unsuccessful their new weapons are working. I am a bit of a skeptic, perhaps you are correct, but I think I will wait for the dust to settle before I take the weapons perfomance as successful. Sorry, I don't know what you mean by IFF's. When you argued that '[t]he problem is linking all the disparate bits up into a system" is a bit of an understatment. All of the various offensive systems to be countered would take a fantastic C&C. And if we were to bring up any type of space borne system(s) into play---. I really can not see how it could be done.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 07:46 PM
Stuart: I agree. I am sure that we will place weapons into space. My argument is that trying to defend against these weapons is virtually impossible. Case in point, Jerry Pournelle (I think) wrote about a space based weapons platform in which were suspended 3 foot long high density metal spikes that could be dropped onto the earth at orbital velocities. I believe the system was called Thor, after the hammer weilding god of Norse myth. There is no need for explosives, the kinetic energy they would impart upon the surface would be great. Lots of spikes, easily aimed, cheap as borcht, delivered in a couple minutes anywhere below the shadow of the platform. How can anyone defend themselves from that threat? The only way would be a preemptive strike. In that option lays madness. This is getting cluttered and I do not know how to create a paragragh so I will address your other points on another post.

Stuart
2003-Apr-09, 07:50 PM
Stuart said that "[t]he new PAC-3's have done stunningly well---". I can not argue with that. But the military and the government, pick any country, are very reticent in telling how successful/unsuccessful their new weapons are working. I am a bit of a skeptic, perhaps you are correct, but I think I will wait for the dust to settle before I take the weapons perfomance as successful.
What went wrong with PAC-1 was that the missiles were "hitting" the inbound Scuds all right but the proximity fuzing meant that the targets were being riddled with fragments rather than blown apart. As a result, the wreckage was carrying on to the target on a ballistic arc. With PAC-3 we're getting direct hits on the inbounds. The radar trace is positive, we can see the arc of the inbound being disrupted by the hit. As I said, its ten for ten so far.


Sorry, I don't know what you mean by IFF's.
IFF = Identification, Friend or Foe. The equipment used to distinguise friendly from hostile contacts. There seems to be a problem with the PAC-3 software that means certain targets get wrongly classified. Thats a mystery thats being studied.


When you argued that '[t]he problem is linking all the disparate bits up into a system" is a bit of an understatment. All of the various offensive systems to be countered would take a fantastic C&C.
Its not impossible; its doable. We've had some pretty similar systems up and running now for a long time. Basically, its the same challenge as an integrated air defense system, it just has to run a bit faster and cover more ground. An incremental rather than a revolutionary change. By the way, a lot of IADS have an anti-tactical ballistic missile capability built into them and have had so since the mid-1960s. In fact, the first integrated anti-tactical ballistic missile system came on-line in 1959 although it wasn't tested until 1962. The ABM problem isn't insoluble, it just takes work.


And if we were to bring up any type of space borne system(s) into play---. I really can not see how it could be done.

Which brings us back to my original point; if there is a military advantage to be gained by putting weapons in space, then thats what will happen. "Should" is nothing to do with it. Unfortunately.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 08:50 PM
Stuart said that"[t]he only difference between an offensive weapon and a defensive weapon is that an offensive weapon is pointed at you while a defensive weapon is pointed by you." Well if you want to put it that way I guess you are correct. However I was arguing in more specific terms. My argument will be couched so that when I say offensive, I mean weapons which are meant to kill, such as a rifle. To anticipate you, yes you can defend yourself with a rifle, but, none the less the rifle is an offensive weapon. I can remove my tin pot from my head and assualt you with it, but I doubt you would argue that a helmet was a offensive weapon. China/Japan. I think that our veiws are similar except that Japan has cared what the Chinese think in a major historical sense. LIke the Germans and French they have rolled in each others sweat, p**s, and blood for so long that they are always on each others mind for good or for bad. This may seem a minor point, but it is not. Sure, "Russia may get back in the game", but not for a while , not with a GDP not a lot more than a middle power like Canada. Again, India like Russia, they are broke. As for "the Caliphate," I beleive that is already being taken care of.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 08:57 PM

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 09:06 PM
To make one last point. Stuart said that a defensive system is "not impossible: its doable." Sure it is "doable" it just will not work. To many variables. Better off building a bunch more offensive weapons and scare the possible enemies into submission.

Colt
2003-Apr-09, 10:37 PM
I am not even going to get between you two in this argument, I'm only going to make a few comments.

The YAL-1A (thanks for the name, didn't know it before) is a workable system. It only needs to be implimented.

ASAT systems are not actually that complicated, it is only the targetting systems that cause trouble. -Colt

BigJim
2003-Apr-10, 12:02 AM
Jerry Pournelle (I think) wrote about a space based weapons platform in which were suspended 3 foot long high density metal spikes that could be dropped onto the earth at orbital velocities. I believe the system was called Thor, after the hammer weilding god of Norse myth. There is no need for explosives, the kinetic energy they would impart upon the surface would be great. Lots of spikes, easily aimed, cheap as borcht, delivered in a couple minutes anywhere below the shadow of the platform. How can anyone defend themselves from that threat? The only way would be a preemptive strike. In that option lays madness. This is getting cluttered and I do not know how to create a paragragh so I will address your other points on another post.

This is an excellent case and these is why I generally agree with you. I am 100% against space-based weaponry aimed at other humans. I think I once read an article describing how an accurately placed barrel of nails in orbit could destroy many satellites. The only situation in which I think space-based bombs should be employed is against asteroids. When I had referred to space-based defense systems, I referred to systems against asteroids, not Earth.


Actually we most certainly do not. The F-15 ASAT system did a series of test shots in the late 1980s but was cancelled thereafter. Only five rounds were made and they were scrapped some years ago after cracks were found in the solid propellent of the booster. Technically, we could revive that capability but we would need a fair time to do that; not only would we need to rebuild the missiles but we would also need to have F-15s dedicated to that role - they have to be stripped down to get into the launch envelope. We could also use the new YAL-1A as an ASAT weapon when that enters service (if...) .

I know what you mean; I think you misunderstood me. I was trying to clarify that we had had the technology and it was out in the open, not that we still had it. There is an interesting website on the rise and fall of the American ASAT here: home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f15_16.html

The different approach taken by America and the USSR to ASAT technology is interesting; we used a missile launched from an aircraft that destroyed by impact; they used a rocket launched system that destroyed by explosives. There is a great site on the Soviet ASAT system here : http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/mwade/project/asat.htm


Finally, any nation with nuclear weapons and IRBM technology has a crude ASAT system; just toss the device into LEO and initiate it.
Absolutely correct. However, the conventional ASAT can do this without the EMP, which makes it an advantage for larger nations and it is not as large a treaty violation. Smaller nations might use this method, though.


Quote:
In 1943, after the invasion of Salerno, a Luftwaffe attack on the Italian port of Bari managed to hit an American cargo vessel carrying tonnes of mustard gas. Nobody ashore knew what the ship was carrying, and were oblivious to the wandering fumes. As for the survivors of the sinking, many were found alive in the water, but covered in oil from the ship and mustard gas particles floating on the surface. Hours after being rescued, these sailors began a tormented and very painful death. The US security service made sure all witnesses were sworn to secrecy, and the incident was covered up until long after the end of hostilities.

Not that I don't believe you, but do you have a source for this?


The story is correct; its a very well-known incident.

Let me just reiterate: I did not doubt you, I just wanted to know where the story came from.

daver
2003-Apr-10, 12:44 AM
Let me just reiterate: I did not doubt you, I just wanted to know where the story came from.

This was the first i'd heard of it as well. I did a google search on mustard gas, Luftwaffe, Bari and found the following book: NIGHTMARE IN BARI: The World War II Liberty Ship Poison Gas Disaster and Cover-up, by Gerald Reminick, ISBN 1-889901-21-0. 288 pages. Also several web pages.

Oh, were you looking for a source for the quote? Try http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Bunker/3351/misc.html

Colt
2003-Apr-10, 05:05 AM
I was trying to argue with two of my friends last year that the barrel-o'-gravel approach to ASAT technology is possible. They would not believe me that sending literally a barrel of gravel, with a small explosive inside of it, up on a missile and detonating it in the path of an enemy satellite would work. One of them is even more intelligent than I am, in some ways he is scary. I do not think either of them could grasp how fast things are traveling in orbit though. How something the size of a marble could completely destroy the Orbiter. -Colt

ToSeek
2003-Apr-10, 02:22 PM
I was trying to argue with two of my friends last year that the barrel-o'-gravel approach to ASAT technology is possible. They would not believe me that sending literally a barrel of gravel, with a small explosive inside of it, up on a missile and detonating it in the path of an enemy satellite would work. One of them is even more intelligent than I am, in some ways he is scary. I do not think either of them could grasp how fast things are traveling in orbit though. How something the size of a marble could completely destroy the Orbiter. -Colt

mv^2

Stuart
2003-Apr-10, 04:29 PM
I was trying to argue with two of my friends last year that the barrel-o'-gravel approach to ASAT technology is possible. They would not believe me that sending literally a barrel of gravel, with a small explosive inside of it, up on a missile and detonating it in the path of an enemy satellite would work. -Colt

If you really want to freak people out try this. Jello as an ASAT weapon. Not joking, this is for real. One of the options for an ASAT payload is to have an intercept vehicle that squirts a cloud of jello into the path of a satellite. As the satellite flies through the cloud the jello coats the optics and solar cells. Then, a combination of evaporation and UV radiation cause the jello to form an opaque coating over those units, effectively disabling the satellite. The beauty is, no orbital wreckage or other junk in LEO. Don't ask what flavor jello works best.

Darkwing
2003-Apr-10, 04:59 PM
I think it could be argued that we already have weapons in space, namely spy satellites and the GPS. Spy satellites provide intelligence, and intelligence can be used as a weapon. A GPS guided weapon has an integral part of its system up in space.

And what about ballistic missiles? They are launched from the surface, but much of their flight is in space.

Stuart
2003-Apr-10, 05:02 PM
Sure it is "doable" it just will not work. Too many variables.
The point is that isn't actually correct; the "variables" involved in building an integrated air defense system are actually significantly greater than in building a missile defense system; an aircraft is conceptually a much more difficult target than a missile. Most of the variables you refer to (the use of multi-warhead missiles such as MRV, MIRV or MARV, decoys etc) were all solved a long time ago. By and large penetration aids are only marginally effective and take up a lot of the payload of the missile. This is a very important thing called "virtual attrition". Virtual attrition is the reduction in the efficiency of an attack by the diversion of resources towards defeating a defense. To show you how this works, we can look at the Uk nuclear deterrent. In the late 1950s, this was based on the V-bombers that could penetrate Soviet air defenses with reasonable certainty. They were tasked with attacking 200 targets in the western USSR. As the efficiency of Soviet air defenses increased, the V-bombers were compromised and were replaced by Polaris missiles on submarines. It was assumed that one submarine carrying 16 missiles each with 3 warheads would be available at any specified time. That meant 48 targets could be engaged. However, the development of the Soviet anti-missile system compromised Polaris. The British got around that with a program called Chevaline. This reduced the warhead load from 3 to 2 and replaced the warhead lost with penetration aids. Furthermore, the whole lot, 32 warheads, was concentrated onto a single target. If we look at what this means, its apparent that the Soviet defenses had reduced the number of targets threatened by the British nuclear deterrent from 200 to 1 - in short they had achieved a virtual attrition of 99.5 percent without even firing a shot.

The problem with building a missile defense system is getting a system that can react quickly enough. There's nothing inherently impossible about it; the technology to achieve it has been around for a long time. Your "variables" are a non-problem.


Better off building a bunch more offensive weapons and scare the possible enemies into submission.

That's classical deterrence. Now to quote Herman Kahn "What happens When Deterrence Fails?" (anybody who knew Herman can tell you that Herman did speak in capitals) . Deterrence can fail for any number of reasons. It can fail because the opposition isn't subject to deterrence (ire they don't care whether thet die or not as long as they hurt us in the process), it can fail because the opposition don't believe that the reprisal strike will be launched or because they believe they can aborb the shock. So if we rely on deterrence, what happens when deterrence fails?

Stuart
2003-Apr-10, 05:08 PM
I think it could be argued that we already have weapons in space, namely spy satellites and the GPS. Spy satellites provide intelligence, and intelligence can be used as a weapon. A GPS guided weapon has an integral part of its system up in space.

Thats a very good point; as a country, the US is totally dependent on satellites for most of its activities. When somebody buys a load of groceries by credit card, the transaction goes though a satellite link. Nearly all our operational C4I goes through satellites. In fact, its quite arguable that if a country (eg North Korea) really wanted to hurt the US and had a small number of nukes, using them to fry every satellite in LEO would be a good way to do it. And they could do it with their existing missile technology. Thats why I say that space weaponry is inevitable simply because it offers substantial military advantages. Somebody will do it and they don't have to be superpowers.

TheGalaxyTrio
2003-Apr-10, 07:22 PM
I would not put any permanent, sizable (more than 20 regular inhabitants, for example) installation in space without a complete compliment of offensive and defensive devices, although mainly defensive. I'd leave retaliation, if required, for any attack to other assets.

The offensive weapons would be a reserve in the unlikely, but possible, event of a manned attack craft rather than a missle or other projectile that you deflect or destroy and it's over (like Patriot versus Scud). You get to approach my station with hostile intent once. :)

I would be inclined not to use beam weaponry of any sort, and favor smart, autonomous projectiles. Then again I'm not privy to the research over at Kirtland AFB. They may have pushed the efficiency of particle beam devices beyond what I can realistically imagine.

The weaponry would be distributed both on the habitat and in remote locations away from the main structure.

The best defense, however, is to go all the way out to L5 or something. As we all know, space is big and fairly empty, and that's an advantage. You can see the missile coming really, really early.

I know the automatic reaction is to get all gushy and noble, but if you pursue something on the lines of a space habitat or large space station (say, something big and expensive enough to rotate), you have to ignore your own philosophy and take into account the the philosopies of everyone else in the world, especially those that might want to do you and yours harm. Sorry, but humanity remains a "demon-haunted" sea of bloody fools, and that sad situation is not going to change any time soon.

Other comments:
Did Parasite Eve II really depict an anti-sat weapon destroying something on the ground? Would that qualify for Bad Astronomy or just rotten physics? :D

Defense against aliens: a silly question, to be honest. :roll:

Good Oberg link (he mentions Kirtland):
http://www.jamesoberg.com/articles/heavens.html

(Edit: narfed the link the first time)

SollyLama
2003-Apr-15, 02:51 PM
As for the question of placing weapons in space, I say- whatever it takes to win. The vanquished have no moral high-ground because they no longer exist. So I'm not so much for space weaponry as I am for winning. It's a nice idealistic debate, but in reality we do whatever it takes to survive.
Space is a fairly limited country club, which gives the US a massive advantage that we will have to maintain as more countries learn to fire rockets into orbit. Not pursuing a program because of some sense of right and wrong about space based weapons is bad policy. There are legitimate concerns such as safety when launching these things, and about their vulnerability to hacking, spoofing, or direct over-ride by hostile forces. But morality doesn't enter the picture.
The issue is a political one. Parking a few megatons of nukes in Geo orbit over an enemy can be a heck of a deterrent, but only if the enemy is convinced you will use the weapon. All the tactical nukes in the inventory could have been brought to Iraq, with zero effect. They KNEW we weren't going to nuke them this time (Bush I played up to that fear in Gulf War I) so it's a hollow threat. And of course the targeted country would throw a hissy-fit.
Like most advanced weapons, other countries protest them not on moral grounds (although they will hide behind that) but because they don't have them and it's a threat. SDI wasn't protested because of any treaties, but because we would be the only kid on the block with it, so the other countries did whatever they could to keep it from deployment. The only argument against it will be made from countries with the capability and intent to harm the US. For example, most folks care not whether a cop carries a gun, but criminals sure don't like it!
There is no real difference between offensive and defensive weaponry, they simply support one another. A solid defense allows you to go on the offensive. Case in point is the pause in this last war. Our weak defense of supply lines and base camps forced a slowing of our offense to ensure the defense of our LOC (Lines of Communication). A solid SDI would allow for offense against even nuclear armed foes.
So the term 'defensive' is misleading. Often, it is the defense capabilities of a nation that causes it to become aggressive. We see this in Israel.
Either way, I support the US winning. If that steps on a few toes (on the feet of the lesser equiped) oh well. Buy your own advanced weapons. It should also be noted that the countries that cry the loudest about our ABM and SDI programs are the people who are;
1) generally considered hostile to the US
2) have intensive espionage programs aimed at stealing this technology for themselves

They will only cry about it's development until they can develop it themselves.
Being a former GI, I also prefer anything that will kill the enemy without me (well, once upon a year ago) having to be anywhere near the bad guys guns. If it saves US soldiers lives, I don't care if it's deployed in space or not.

Kaptain K
2003-Apr-15, 03:28 PM
Parking a few megatons of nukes in Geo orbit over an enemy can be a heck of a deterrent...
Sorry, but geosynchronous (or geostationary) orbit is the worst place to put a weapon.
1) In order to hit some place on Earth, you have to kill all of the orbital velocity.
2) When you do, it will be coming in at close to escape velocity. This means that you will need massive heat shielding (more than Apollo, since it will be coming straight in, not at an angle). You will also need microsecond timing or it will either explode to high up or be destroyed by litho-braking before it can go off.

SollyLama
2003-Apr-16, 10:21 PM
okay, not being hip to orbital mechanics, maybe geo is a bad place for weaponry. I wasn't being literal in that sense. I mean that having nukes sitting above your nation 'locked on' your butt will help keep you honest.
My point is that we fight where ever the battlefield is, and if it moves into space, then we better have the weapons platforms available and deployed to deal with it. I'm not going to assign some artificial sanctity on space based on some moral judgement. To me it's no different than the goofy American Indian claim that the moon is "sacred" and we shouldn't step foot on it. Yeah, right.
Keep your medieval superstitions out of it. Same goes for space.
If it helps the US and it's interests, then we have an obligation to pursue it.
I like the natural beauty of Shemya Island too, but I'm not complaining about Cobra Dane being there.

Colt
2003-Apr-17, 12:03 AM
"So if we rely on deterrence, what happens when deterrence fails?" -Stuart

Blow them up? :-? :P

I agree with Trio in the sense that if you had someting like the ISS is supposed to be, you will need to protect it instead of relying on the good will of others. I would like to make the point though that there is no such thing as a defensive or offensive weapon, there are only weapons.

Parasite Eve 2 did have a weapons satellite. It looked like it was made for actually destroying objects on the ground since I doubt that something as powerful as its projectile would be needed to take out a satellite. It was compact until the barrel extended. It looked either like a coil gun (more likely) or some sort of plasma weapon. -Colt

crazy4space
2003-Apr-17, 03:47 PM
Now, if I am an alien, coming in from another galaxy and I see your little space based weapons, up in space, am I going to stop and say HELLO?

My initials are on the moon because Gene Cernan put them there.

Stuart
2003-Apr-18, 05:28 PM
Blow them up?

WADR that's what we're trying to avoid doing. The object of the exercise is to prevent a situation arising where blowing people up is the only option left. That's one of the distinguising features of the Nuclear Game; its necessary to think three, four or six steps down the line to try and avoid such things.


Parasite Eve 2 did have a weapons satellite. It looked like it was made for actually destroying objects on the ground since I doubt that something as powerful as its projectile would be needed to take out a satellite. It was compact until the barrel extended. It looked either like a coil gun (more likely) or some sort of plasma weapon. -Colt

What the devil is Parasite Eve 2?

TheGalaxyTrio
2003-Apr-18, 07:42 PM
What the devil is Parasite Eve 2?

A Playstation 2 RPG.

The title is based on the idea of "Mitochondria Eve" popularized a few years back (the hypothetical pre-historic woman to which all currently living humans can trace their ancestry). The idea in the games is, "what if the mitochondria were parasites, and were simply biding their time to take over?" In the game it turns out there are two warring branches within the mitochondrial evolution, one that wants to dominate, and one that wants to continue peaceful symbiotic harmony.

One of the more original ideas in video games. Based on a Japanese SF novel, I think. Execution in #1 was so-so. Didn't play #2.

Argos
2003-Apr-18, 10:52 PM
About weapons in space

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/space_weapons/index.cfm

Colt
2003-Apr-19, 12:00 AM
What the devil is Parasite Eve 2?

A Playstation 2 RPG.

The title is based on the idea of "Mitochondria Eve" popularized a few years back (the hypothetical pre-historic woman to which all currently living humans can trace their ancestry). The idea in the games is, "what if the mitochondria were parasites, and were simply biding their time to take over?" In the game it turns out there are two warring branches within the mitochondrial evolution, one that wants to dominate, and one that wants to continue peaceful symbiotic harmony.

One of the more original ideas in video games. Based on a Japanese SF novel, I think. Execution in #1 was so-so. Didn't play #2.

I have never played the first one, can't find it. I have heard though that PE2 (the one I have) is better. IMHO I think that PE2 is perhaps better than the RE series of games; better weapons, fighting systems, story, etc. They do not just have the large following that the RE games do.

I didn't know about the good mitochondria vs bad mitchondria thing.. What SF novel was it, do you know? Here (http://www.angelfire.com/pe/MitochondriaEve/) is a site I found that helps explain mitochondria. -Colt

dgruss23
2003-Apr-19, 04:34 AM
I vote "no". However, if in the long run major colonies are developed on the Moon/Mars or orbital space stations - colonies with people going to work each day, then weapons of some sort will become necessary because undoubtably a police force will be needed. Human nature is what it is, and its hard to imagine that you could have a large colony of people somewhere in space and not have a few deviants choose a criminal life. If the criminals are the only ones on those colonies with weapons ... well, you can imagine.

TheGalaxyTrio
2003-Apr-22, 03:50 PM
What SF novel was it, do you know

"Parasite Eve" by Sena Hideaki.

snowcelt
2003-May-08, 04:43 AM
I have to re-visit this thread. Up here in the liberal dictatorship of the north the missle-defense deployment is now live-and-well and front line news. Great controversy as to whether or not to join the U.S. in the system's deployment. Of course there are about ten reasons as to join in or not. The fact is we probabily will. But what really gets me is that the decision is not going to be made as to whether the system will work, it is as to ensure that we stay on the good side of Uncle Sam. There has been no mention if the system would work or not. It is nothing but a political decision! No thought as to what this system is or what the long-range possibilities are! When you sleep with a large beast, sleep lightly. The U.S. has their reasons, to bad Canada does'nt have their own reasons.

Rue
2003-May-08, 02:27 PM
The U.S. has their reasons, to bad Canada does'nt have their own reasons.

Canada's one major reason is NORAD if this system is under command and control of NORAD then it makes sense that Canada would co-operate in order to keep the participation in North American defense strong.

Since North Korea is named as a potential culprit. They have a delivery system and a nuclear program. We had reason to defend against Soviet attack then why not the "rogues" as well.

Some in the government oppose the idea of space-based weapons and would like to see it ground based instead.

More (http://sympatico.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20030508.wxnmdd0508/front/Front/Front/sympatico-front)

Colt
2003-May-08, 06:18 PM
Another thing about Canada in a nuclear war, if they go, the U.S. goes too so it is in their interest to protect Canada. :-? -Colt

BigJim
2003-May-09, 11:23 PM
(NOTE: There is no offense here intended to Canadians, but is just an observation in general)

I never really saw why Canada needs its own military. During the Cold War, I don't think non-nuclear Canada would have been the USSR's first target, and the country solely borders the US, with which it is friendly. If a country ever attempted to invade Canada for some reason, the US would certainly assist in repelling the invasion. In other words, Canada doesn't really need a military, as the US would protect them from any attacks.

That really has a lot to do with space-based weapons...... :wink:

Colt
2003-May-09, 11:46 PM
(NOTE: There is no offense here intended to Canadians, but is just an observation in general)

I never really saw why Canada needs its own military. During the Cold War, I don't think non-nuclear Canada would have been the USSR's first target, and the country solely borders the US, with which it is friendly. If a country ever attempted to invade Canada for some reason, the US would certainly assist in repelling the invasion. In other words, Canada doesn't really need a military, as the US would protect them from any attacks.

That really has a lot to do with space-based weapons...... :wink:

I make jokes to some of my Canadian friends at school about their country, of course people in our own country think that we sleep in igloos up here.. One goes that the civilian population of Alaska alone could invade Canada and take it over. The odd thing is that some of them actually agree, not sure if they are just humoring me or not.

On the topic of Canada's military: As BigJim said, Canada doesn't need a military per-se.. Anything that would happen to Canada the United States is right there to protect it. Of course it does alot for national pride to have a military, that is something to think about.

No offense to Canada btw. -Colt

snowcelt
2003-May-13, 04:05 AM
(NOTE: There is no offense here intended to Canadians, but is just an observation in general)

I never really saw why Canada needs its own military. During the Cold War, I don't think non-nuclear Canada would have been the USSR's first target, and the country solely borders the US, with which it is friendly. If a country ever attempted to invade Canada for some reason, the US would certainly assist in repelling the invasion. In other words, Canada doesn't really need a military, as the US would protect them from any attacks.

That really has a lot to do with space-based weapons...... :wink:

None taken. Why does any country need a military? To defend against all enemies, inside as well. No offense to the U.S.A., but the history books point out that the only time we have been invaded was when the U.S.A. did. So if we got rid of our military, and put the U.S. in charge... kind of like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coup eh? :wink:

As for space based weapons, IMHO they just will not work.

Madcat
2003-May-14, 02:10 PM
I don't know about that. The re-entry vehicles used on ICBMs are plenty accurate already, and with modern solid-state gyros, I'm sure that whatever level of precision is required will eventually be attained. As for the philosophical side of things, try looking at it this way: In and of itself, technology is neither good nor evil. It is a force multiplier. It magnifies your ability to do things, be they good or evil. I'll admit, it would be pretty terrible if a rogue nation got ahold of a space-based weapon and terrorised everyone. But what if they provided a new level of precision weaponry that could eliminate or even nonlethally disarm evildoers? It might allow for wars with fewer civillian deaths.

eburacum45
2003-Jul-15, 09:42 AM
I agree with the point about anything being a weapon; accelerate a banana to the right fraction of c and it would destroy London ...

any respectable fusion powered interplanetary propulsion system should be usable as an anti-satellite weapon,
and solar power collectors round the sun or in a Lagrange point would probably beam power by microwave- also a potential weapon;
any propulsion system powerful enough to go to another star would be much more powerful than any nuclear weapon we have today.

So.
If we want to see high energy technology used in the exploitation of space, we cannot forbid any country or interest group to use any device which is potentially dangerous;
all the good stuff is.

mike alexander
2003-Jul-15, 09:11 PM
Hey, the Canada stuff was good! Silly, but good. My complements to our northern friends on their forebearance of our testosterone. (I remember reading about Canadian troops in both World Wars. The most common adjective describing them seemed to be 'indomitable'. Many people seem to confuse being polite with being wimpy.)

This has no relevance, of course, to the fact that my family is driving to Drumheller and Yoho on a paeleovacation next week. Got my Loonies ready.

I was going to start on something else here when the content of three pages of stuff hit me. This is like reading the posts on an e-game battlegroup board. You know, something like, "Sure you can take three neutrazaps while in Cloak-mode, but if you first warp to Zeta-Prime to recharge your DuffleBag..."

There's a feeling Dave Barry is writing some of it. Acronym Battle, or somesuch. Powered by Cheneyfeld.

My God, how easy it is to fall into the technorhetoric of killing. So clean, spacewar is...

All right. For the record, I think near-earth space will be weaponized. There are enough human sphincters out there (and enough of us willing to be lead around by the short hairs) to ensure this. Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Just nuke 'em 'till they glow in the dark! The only good opponent is a DEAD opponent! And ANYONE is a potential opponent! Or could be! We will defend ourselves against EVERYONE! By getting them first! He's got a gun! He MIGHT pull it!

End of rant. My apologies. Now, how do we go about PREVENTING the pollution of our favorite place, the sky?

Kebsis
2003-Jul-16, 10:03 AM
NO, NO, NO. Donīt you think there are already enough weapons down here? :)

Space people donīt kill. The future is null for a technological civilization with destructive impulses. No to weapons in space, and on the surface alike.

The future is null for a technological civilization with destructive impulses, yes...but it is also nill for a completely peaceful civilization, as it will only be a matter of time before a destructive civilization comes along and kicks your butt.

To survive, you need the correct balance of violence and peace. Weapons will find their way into space, sooner or later, that's a given. The only thing to debate about is how it is done.