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banquo's_bumble_puppy
2009-Mar-31, 06:11 PM
Could North Korea or Iran shoot down the shuttle or the ISS? If a country has satellite launch capability, does it also become capable of shooting down manned vehicles? Is this a concern?

01101001
2009-Mar-31, 06:28 PM
Could North Korea or Iran shoot down the shuttle or the ISS? If a country has satellite launch capability, does it also become capable of shooting down manned vehicles? Is this a concern?

It's not rocket science. Oh, wait. It is.

Yeah, not long after getting the mere ability to orbit, with suitable technology advances, comes the ability to ram another satellite. Still more time means better capability.

I doubt the ISS could be shot down. It's big. But it could be badly damaged to the point of being uninhabitable all or in part.

It didn't take China so very long to develop anti-satellite ability. It might take other countries somewhat longer, depending on resources and will. But it just a matter of time until those countries could. Naturally, that doesn't mean they will.

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-31, 06:31 PM
That would be a suicidal thing to do. I don't believe any nation's leader is that crazy (and there are some crazy ones out there).

antoniseb
2009-Mar-31, 06:33 PM
While I imagine that they can't now, for lack of the right targeting devices, it wouldn't be hard for them to do. I also imagine they have no particular need or desire to do so.

This topic is on the boundary of whether it has enough space interest to justify the political side being pretty obvious. If it slides into politics, or nationalism, this thread will be closed promptly.

Argos
2009-Mar-31, 06:35 PM
That would be an unprecedented act of aggression. It would attract the wrath of Uncle Sam and pretty much the rest of the world. I donīt see it happening.

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2009-Mar-31, 06:37 PM
maybe the thread should be locked now- my bad....question answered

nauthiz
2009-Mar-31, 06:46 PM
That would be an unprecedented act of aggression. It would attract the wrath of Uncle Sam and pretty much the rest of the world. I donīt see it happening.

Not to mention the ISS's other major operator, Russia. That's probably a bigger deterrent, since DPRK and Russia still have fairly close ties.

KaiYeves
2009-Mar-31, 09:07 PM
Morbid is putting it mildly...

ravens_cry
2009-Mar-31, 11:22 PM
Might make a good adventure flick. Terrorists (it's always terrorists these days)shoot a missile at orbiting Space Shuttle. One crew member dies, they lose a lot of air. but most importantly, a lot of the tiles get, well, frapped.They don't have the fuel to dock with the ISS, so a Dragon/Soyuz/whatever capsule is sent up to randevous with them. But there's only room for all but one, so the last has to ride down on an untested idea dragged out of mothballs, the Paracone. (http://www.astronautix.com/craft/paracone.htm). What do ya think?

raptorthang
2009-Mar-31, 11:24 PM
The United States of Paranoia

Boogyman under every bed.

01101001
2009-Apr-01, 01:10 AM
The United States of Paranoia

Boogyman under every bed.

Explain please.

novaderrik
2009-Apr-01, 03:09 AM
Explain please.

we are a paranoid people- everyone is out to get us and everything can kill us.
just look how we respond whenever they find mad cow disease in one cow on a farm in the middle of nowhere or when 2 people get upset stomachs after eating too many pistachios or when there are reports of people that live with chickens in their houses half a world away get the flu.

Jens
2009-Apr-01, 05:43 AM
Explain please.

Probably the point was that the scenario itself seems paranoid. What motivation would North Korea have for destroying the ISS? It's not like it's threatening them. Publicity? Not really all that desirable.

The real question is, could disgruntled post office workers manage to build a missile to destroy it? That's a much more reasonable scenario. (Apologies in advance to any post office workers here). :)

01101001
2009-Apr-01, 06:40 AM
Probably the point was that the scenario itself seems paranoid.

I'm wondering if it was meant to paint a whole nation as paranoid. Novaderrik seems to think so. Does raptorthang?

What is the evidence for that? Is the USA paranoid? More than any other country? Are USA citizens paranoid? More than other nations' citizens?

Answers should come mindful of advice against ad hominem and politics, of course, if possible.

Josh
2009-Apr-01, 08:14 AM
The comment has been dealt with via PM so could we please not take this thread any further down the garden path. Thanks.

Lord Jubjub
2009-Apr-05, 01:40 AM
Actually, shooting down a manned object is harder than one might think. It is pert near impossible to launch something into orbital space without anyone noticing. Further, it would be fairly easy to slightly adjust the orbit of the target to avoid a collision.

AstroSmurf
2009-Apr-09, 12:49 PM
The Shuttle is probably safe, but more difficult to avoid for the ISS. One point is that you won't "shoot down" the ISS - you might be able to blow it up with a pretty small warhead, but all you'll get is a cloud of debris in much the same orbit as before.

Another point is that hitting an object in orbit is far from easy - it's actually almost as difficult as a rendezvous. You need to put the missile in an orbit that will intersect the ISS at just the right time, so with plenty of warning, even a modest velocity change might make an intercept very difficult to achieve. And you *will* have plenty of warning.

Larry Jacks
2009-Apr-09, 01:10 PM
Further, it would be fairly easy to slightly adjust the orbit of the target to avoid a collision.

Not if it's a direct ascent ASAT. The time from liftoff to impact is less than 15 minutes. It takes far longer than that to perform a significant maneuver, especially considering the active terminal guidance that ASAT's carry.

BigDon
2009-Apr-10, 04:23 PM
Larry, as far as I know neither N. Korea or Iran are noted for their ASAT technology.

And as far as P.O.ing folks I much more worry about seriously angering the Ruskies than seriously angering the U.S. To misquote Darth Vader, "The Russians aren't nearly as merciful as we are." Just ask the Germans.

Larry Jacks
2009-Apr-10, 05:26 PM
It depends on the warhead. If you're talking about a kinetic kill, then North Korea and Iran are far from having an ASAT capability. If the warhead is nuclear (like Russia's current system), you don't have to get all that close. The fact is that any country that has ballistic missiles with a range of 1000 miles or so and nuclear warheads (e.g. India, Pakistan) could take out the ISS and a lot of other satellites.

Damburger
2009-Apr-12, 12:55 PM
Yes, they certainly could.

1) You don't need orbital capability to do it. You just need a sounding rocket (which both NK and Iran definitely have the capability of producing) to spray shards of metal in the path of the oncoming shuttle, and its toast.

2) The position of the shuttle is not, IIRC, kept closely secret - and it isn't designed to be particularly stealthy. Iran and NK can, if they are interested, locate it without much trouble.

I doubt either would though - it would be an incredibly provocative move by either party and they would have nothing to gain from it.

TampaDude
2009-Apr-17, 10:57 PM
I doubt either would though - it would be an incredibly provocative move by either party and they would have nothing to gain from it.

^ this

Noclevername
2009-Apr-19, 12:58 AM
That would be a suicidal thing to do. I don't believe any nation's leader is that crazy (and there are some crazy ones out there).

"The Japanese wouldn't dare bomb Pearl Harbor, they must know it'd be suicide!"

"Who would crash a plane into the WTC, no one's that crazy!"

You, sir, are an Optimist.

Tucson_Tim
2009-Apr-19, 02:11 PM
You, sir, are an Optimist.

Thank you. Even though I know you didn't mean it as a compliment, I'll take it that way.

As far as North Korea, or any other country, shooting down the Shuttle or ISS, tell me, what is served by being a pessimist?

Tucson_Tim
2009-Apr-19, 02:31 PM
If North Korea, or any other nation were to attack the ISS, it is not just an attack on the US, they might as well attack several nations at once, including Russia. This is what I meant by the country leaders not being "that crazy". The two examples you gave aren't in the same class.


"The Japanese wouldn't dare bomb Pearl Harbor, they must know it'd be suicide!"


This was one nation attacking another nation and also, with the sabre rattling that was going on in the Pacific by both navies, war was almost inevitable. Besides, by their logic, "he who strikes first has a better chance for victory". This was one navy attacking the naval base of another nation. I don't think the Japanese considered it suicide -- I think they really believed they could win a war in the Pacific.



"Who would crash a plane into the WTC, no one's that crazy!"

Even if you attach the Afghan government to this, it is still one group attacking one nation.

Noclevername
2009-Apr-20, 09:15 PM
Thank you. Even though I know you didn't mean it as a compliment, I'll take it that way.

As far as North Korea, or any other country, shooting down the Shuttle or ISS, tell me, what is served by being a pessimist?
I didn't mean it as an insult, either. Just pointing out that there's no realistic limit to what people will attempt just because they happen to be in charge of a country or because their target is a country. Leadership does not automatically impose rationality.


If North Korea, or any other nation were to attack the ISS, it is not just an attack on the US, they might as well attack several nations at once, including Russia. This is what I meant by the country leaders not being "that crazy". The two examples you gave aren't in the same class. Only a difference in scale.




This was one nation attacking another nation and also, with the sabre rattling that was going on in the Pacific by both navies, war was almost inevitable. Besides, by their logic, "he who strikes first has a better chance for victory". This was one navy attacking the naval base of another nation. Still just someone attacking someone else. Nation, individual, gang, mafia family, international alliance, not really relevant to the question.



I don't think the Japanese considered it suicide -- I think they really believed they could win a war in the Pacific.
Yes, that's exactly the point. We assumed they thought it was suicide and wouldn't do it, because we wouldn't do it. To expect someone else's views and priorities to conform to your own is irrational. To assume a particular resource can't be a target because of that thinking is unrealistic. That's why modern military intel folks think in terms of capabiility rather than assumed intent, and the capability to strike the ISS exists-- regardless of whether our meager imaginations can come up with a suitable "reason" for doing so or not.



Even if you attach the Afghan government to this, it is still one group attacking one nation.

A nation is not a group? Pray tell, what is it then, a hive-mind? Anyone can attack anyone. What title or label that group wears is irrelevant. It's a nonexistent distinction.

ravens_cry
2009-Apr-20, 09:46 PM
A nation is not a group? Pray tell, what is it then, a hive-mind? Anyone can attack anyone. What title or label that group wears is irrelevant. It's a nonexistent distinction.
All nations are groups, not all groups are nations.
Another thing, the rules for nations attacking each other are different from a group attacking nation. In a silly example, let's make-believe that the Canadian Armed Forces attacked a US Naval vessel. That's a pretty clear cut act of war. On the other hand, if a Canadian terrorist organization decided to attack a US Naval vessel, with covert support of the Canadian government. Same result, but the US would be more reluctant to go to war with Canada over it. That is the 'beauty' of state-sponsored terrorism, it allows a smaller country to have an effect to have an effect, with less risk and money. How much would September 11th cost, comapred to what America has spent on it's war effort? The ratio is quite favorable.
It can backfire though, as in the US Coalition invasion of Afghanistan.

Tucson_Tim
2009-Apr-20, 10:04 PM
Noclevername, I'm not going to discuss this with you anymore. No matter whay you say, I'll still going to be an optimist about this -- l do not believe that someone is going to shoot down the ISS or the Shuttle. You can call me irrational (again) but I don't feel that the world is as crappy as you believe. If it is, then you'll get the chance to post an "I told you so" at some later date.

Noclevername
2009-Apr-21, 12:18 AM
Noclevername, I'm not going to discuss this with you anymore. No matter whay you say, I'll still going to be an optimist about this -- l do not believe that someone is going to shoot down the ISS or the Shuttle. You can call me irrational (again) but I don't feel that the world is as crappy as you believe. If it is, then you'll get the chance to post an "I told you so" at some later date.

Belief, is, of course, your own affair. And I'm sorry you thought I was calling you personally irrational; everyone has some irrational beliefs, it's just part of human nature, and like I said no insult was intended. I also never said that I think the Shuttle or ISS will be shot down. I said that it can be done, and that just because a course of action is thought by one party or another to be insane, useless, nonproductive, or self-destructive doesn't mean no one will do it, national leader or not. I didn't "tell you so", I said it's a plausible possibility.

Noclevername
2009-Apr-21, 12:27 AM
All nations are groups, not all groups are nations.
Another thing, the rules for nations attacking each other are different from a group attacking nation. In a silly example, let's make-believe that the Canadian Armed Forces attacked a US Naval vessel. That's a pretty clear cut act of war. On the other hand, if a Canadian terrorist organization decided to attack a US Naval vessel, with covert support of the Canadian government. Same result, but the US would be more reluctant to go to war with Canada over it. That is the 'beauty' of state-sponsored terrorism, it allows a smaller country to have an effect to have an effect, with less risk and money. How much would September 11th cost, comapred to what America has spent on it's war effort? The ratio is quite favorable.
It can backfire though, as in the US Coalition invasion of Afghanistan.

But this assumes that both nations follow said rules, are convinced that said consequences will apply to them, and have clear-cut military goals. Any sufficiently powerful and delusional leader who convinces himself he's invincible or just that his side can win an all-out war, and that destrying a symbol of a hated enemy is a worthy enough goal to risk said war (assuming they even acknowledge that war is a likely outcome), then yes, they could very well do it.

It is, of course, very much a worst-case scenario. But then, as we've learned repeatedly, that's no bar to something actually happening.

Jens
2009-Apr-21, 02:25 AM
To assume a particular resource can't be a target because of that thinking is unrealistic. That's why modern military intel folks think in terms of capabiility rather than assumed intent, and the capability to strike the ISS exists-- regardless of whether our meager imaginations can come up with a suitable "reason" for doing so or not.


But there has to be a limit to what you put resources toward. I mean, I suppose the US faces threats from the British and Canadian militaries, but I doubt that people put much thought into how to combat those threats, because they are probably (I think fairly rightly) seen as unrealistic. I don't think anybody is really saying it couldn't happen, but just that it doesn't seem like something that is likely to happen, because it's hard to imagine what they could get out of it. Similarly, I doubt that Canada worries too much (nowadays) about an attack from the south, because it's hard to imagine that the US could benefit very much from it. It would simply be a drain on American snowplough resources. :) So even military planners must make decisions about what things are likely or not, to set priorities.

joema
2009-Apr-21, 02:54 AM
Yes, they certainly could.

1) You don't need orbital capability to do it. You just need a sounding rocket (which both NK and Iran definitely have the capability of producing) to spray shards of metal in the path of the oncoming shuttle, and its toast...
It doesn't work that way. Space is vast. Without precision hit-to-kill guidance, an intercept isn't possible.

Neither North Korea or Iran have that capability, so all the discussion about geopolitical factors is a moot point. The topic is whether those countries have the technical capability. They do not.

Noclevername
2009-Apr-21, 03:00 AM
But there has to be a limit to what you put resources toward.
I never proposed putting one cent towards it.



I mean, I suppose the US faces threats from the British and Canadian militaries, but I doubt that people put much thought into how to combat those threats, because they are probably (I think fairly rightly) seen as unrealistic.

False analogy. Canada and the UK have not expressed hostility towards us lately. And they are notably not run by crazy dictators who can launch weapons at a whim.


I don't think anybody is really saying it couldn't happen, but just that it doesn't seem like something that is likely to happen, because it's hard to imagine what they could get out of it.
Yes, just like we could not imagine how someone could benefit from 9/11. Yet it happened anyway.



So even military planners must make decisions about what things are likely or not, to set priorities. I'm sure it would, and should, be given a low probability of happening. The OP is not about priority, it's about possibility.

Noclevername
2009-Apr-21, 03:01 AM
It doesn't work that way. Space is vast. Without precision hit-to-kill guidance, an intercept isn't possible.

Neither North Korea or Iran have that capability, so all the discussion about geopolitical factors is a moot point. The topic is whether those countries have the technical capability. They do not.

Evidence?

ravens_cry
2009-Apr-21, 03:19 AM
@Noclevername:
Oh, I am fairly sure, despite all their pontificating, that North Korea and Iran don't think they are invincible, per say. However, they do wish to be taken seriously. And in many ways, that makes them more dangerous.

Damburger
2009-Apr-21, 07:52 AM
It doesn't work that way. Space is vast. Without precision hit-to-kill guidance, an intercept isn't possible.

Neither North Korea or Iran have that capability, so all the discussion about geopolitical factors is a moot point. The topic is whether those countries have the technical capability. They do not.

If they know the orbit of the shuttle (which is publicised) and they place a rocket on its ground track, all the guidance they need is 'which way is up'

Yes, the shuttle might sail through a cloud of debris without getting touched - but with relative velocities of at least 8km/s the attacker only needs to get lucky once to kill the crew.

Anyway, as I have said they wouldn't do this. It would be the very public murder of high profile US citizens in a way that would afford them zero deniability, essentially amounting to a spontaneous declaration of war against the US and all its allies (with such a clear source for the attack there would be few countries unwilling to actively support the US).

Why would dicatators with absolute power in their countries jeapordise that just to knock out a spacecraft that is going to be retired anyway?


False analogy. Canada and the UK have not expressed hostility towards us lately. And they are notably not run by crazy dictators who can launch weapons at a whim.

Kim Jong Il and Ali Khamenei (the guy really in charge of Iran) are not crazy. You can't attain and maintain a position at the top of a dictatorial system if you have no sense of self preservation and/or are prone to psychoses. They may say crazy things, but that is just to sucker their populations. They know exactly what they are doing.

joema
2009-Apr-21, 12:27 PM
Evidence?
If you're asking for evidence that North Korea or Iran have ABM-like capability which could reach the shuttle or ISS, there is no such evidence.

A hypothesis in this thread is that capability exists -- it's up to the proponents of that view to provide the clear evidence, not vice-versa.

joema
2009-Apr-21, 12:46 PM
If they know the orbit of the shuttle (which is publicised) and they place a rocket on its ground track, all the guidance they need is 'which way is up'

Yes, the shuttle might sail through a cloud of debris without getting touched - but with relative velocities of at least 8km/s the attacker only needs to get lucky once to kill the crew...
You need much more guidance than "which way is up".

Even if the booster had the capability to reach the shuttle orbit (about 220 miles), you'll never hit anything by putting debris in its path.

This is a frequent misconception we see on this board. People view intercepting an orbital vehicle like putting an obstacle on the tracks of an oncoming train -- something easy.

In reality various factors make it totally different:

The vast volume of three dimensional space means extreme precision is required. A cloud of projectiles would simply spread out and miss.

You need more than 3D spacial solution, but a timing solution within milliseconds. A "sounding rocket" doesn't go into orbit. Thus it's more like anti-aircraft artilliary.

You can't achieve any of those with a mere booster rocket. It's just not accurate enough. They vary in fuel burn rate, attitude control, etc. A kill vehicle is needed with precision thrusters interlinked to closed-loop terminal guidance.

No evidence has been presented that North Korea or Iran have this capability.

Larry Jacks
2009-Apr-21, 08:17 PM
For a kinetic kill, you're right. That was the point I made about the collision between an Iridium and that old Russian satellite a couple months ago.

However, even a low yield nuclear weapon doesn't have to be all that close to wipe out all of the electronics on a satellite or the ISS. Any nation with an IRBM range missile (e.g. Iran and North Korea) and a nuclear warhead could do the job. So far, neither North Korea nor Iran has this capability but both appear to be attempting to get it. North Korea attempted to detonate a nuclear warhead a couple years back. In this scenario, the warhead wouldn't need a really precise guidance system (getting within a few kilometers would be more than enough) or a reentry heat shield like an ICBM requires. It's actually easier than developing a credible ICBM.

joema
2009-Apr-21, 10:46 PM
...However, even a low yield nuclear weapon doesn't have to be all that close to wipe out all of the electronics on a satellite or the ISS....
Correct; in fact the world's first operational anti-satellite system was the U.S. "Project 505", based on the Nike Zeus ABM. It simply got to the vicinity of the target satellite and relied on a nuclear warhead.

Likewise the follow-on "Program 437", based on a Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, also used a nuclear warhead.

However even with a nuclear warhead, you can't just lob it in the general direction. According to the book "High Frontier: The U.S. Air Force and the Military Space Program", by Curtis Peebles, the Thor anti-satellite launch window was +/- one second. Any more or less, and it wouldn't get close enough, even with a nuke.

That shows why you can't rely on debris to achieve the kill.

However Larry is right, the Thor used (by today's standards) a primitive inertial guidance system with an approx. 2-mile accuracy. Any national power having a similar IRBM and nuclear warhead has, in essence, an anti-satellite weapon.

Iran doesn't have that capability, but North Korea is on the verge of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_437

Jens
2009-Apr-22, 04:37 AM
False analogy. Canada and the UK have not expressed hostility towards us lately. And they are notably not run by crazy dictators who can launch weapons at a whim.


I wasn't trying to make an analogy. I was just responding to your claim that modern intelligence looks only at capability, not at assumed intent. I just meant to say that I think they look at intent as well, and you seem to agree.

Damburger
2009-Apr-22, 07:56 AM
The vast volume of three dimensional space means extreme precision is required. A cloud of projectiles would simply spread out and miss.


Why does spreading out entail missing? You only need one hit for a kill



You need more than 3D spacial solution, but a timing solution within milliseconds. A "sounding rocket" doesn't go into orbit. Thus it's more like anti-aircraft artilliary.


The point is that it doesn't go into orbit; it goes to the same height as orbit but is not at orbital speed, so the relative velocity of the collision is over 8km/s, which makes each 100g of debris equivalent to a kilo of TNT.



You can't achieve any of those with a mere booster rocket. It's just not accurate enough. They vary in fuel burn rate, attitude control, etc. A kill vehicle is needed with precision thrusters interlinked to closed-loop terminal guidance.

No evidence has been presented that North Korea or Iran have this capability.

For a start, Iran has put a satellite into orbit. That implies at least some level of attitude control and varied burn rate.

joema
2009-Apr-22, 11:45 AM
Why does spreading out entail missing? You only need one hit for a kill
An IRBM used by North Korea or Iran would be similar to the old U.S. Thor missile. Guidance accuracy about 2 miles, payload about 400 kg.

However that 2-mi accuracy is in a surface-to-surface mode against a stationary target. The shuttle/ISS is a moving target, speed about 4.7 miles per second (25,000 ft/sec).

Even if the 400 kg payload was perfectly distributed 20 gram shrapnel (like a hand grenade), and even if was perfectly spread in a spherical pattern (like a fireworks burst), due to the 2 mi guidance accuracy this would be a sphere about 12 square miles in surface area. That's about 1 shrapnel chunk every 17,000 square feet.

While that sounds like a lucky hit might rarely happen, the shrapnel cloud is only in that configuration momentarily.

But the big problem is not X-Y-Z spacial accuracy, by timing accuracy. With the target moving at about 4.7 mi/sec, launch, flight time and payload dispersion must be within about 1 sec, otherwise it will totally miss. Yet there is no way to adjust the missile flight time or speed -- it's unguided except for pre-programmed inertial coordinates.

You could get a lucky hit, just like you could draw a Royal Flush the first time you ever play poker. But the odds are infinitesimally small.


The point is that it doesn't go into orbit; it goes to the same height as orbit but is not at orbital speed, so the relative velocity of the collision is over 8km/s, which makes each 100g of debris equivalent to a kilo of TNT.
The non-orbital nature makes it much harder. It's two intersecting trajectories, where each object is moving at several miles per second. This imposes an extreme timing requirement, yet the missile has no terminal guidance.


For a start, Iran has put a satellite into orbit. That implies at least some level of attitude control and varied burn rate.
You need no attitude control or variable burn rate to achieve orbit. E.g, Sputnik's launcher had neither.

The bottom line is unless you're using a nuclear warhead or a sophisticated kinetic kill vehicle with terminal guidance and maneuvering, the intercept just won't happen.

There is a reason why every direct ascent ABM and ASAT weapon ever fielded uses one of these two techniques. They didn't stupidly overlook an easier, cheaper solution of just using a bunch of shrapnel.

Tucson_Tim
2009-May-07, 06:12 PM
The United States of Paranoia

Boogyman under every bed.

As 01101001 asked, could you please explain this comment?

Swift
2009-May-07, 08:59 PM
As 01101001 asked, could you please explain this comment?

The comment has been dealt with via PM so could we please not take this thread any further down the garden path. Thanks.
No, please do not. It was settled back on April 1 when Josh posted as he did above, do not restart the issue.

H4wkeye
2009-May-08, 01:14 AM
That would be really dumb and suicidal tbh.If they would do it,after that they would be in war with the rest of the earth,and it would lead to their destruction.

Damburger
2009-May-08, 12:22 PM
You need no attitude control or variable burn rate to achieve orbit. E.g, Sputnik's launcher had neither.

Not wanting to resurrect this thread properly, but that comment is clearly absurd, if only because the direction sputnik was launched (perpendicular to the surface of the Earth) is 90 degrees from the direction it was moving when injected into orbit (parallel to the surface of the Earth).

Outside the ACME universe, you can't get into orbit at all without attitude control.

joema
2009-May-08, 04:21 PM
Not wanting to resurrect this thread properly, but that comment is clearly absurd, if only because the direction sputnik was launched (perpendicular to the surface of the Earth) is 90 degrees from the direction it was moving when injected into orbit (parallel to the surface of the Earth).

Outside the ACME universe, you can't get into orbit at all without attitude control.
Sorry, my post was unclear.

Sputnik's R-7 launch vehicle obviously stayed under control to place the satellite in orbit. This required steering and guidance, which controlled the attitude of the entire launch vehicle during ascent. Without that the rocket would flip end over end after launch.

I meant it had no 3D attitude control system such as RCS thrusters. It had attitude control only in the sense a primitive WWII V2 rocket did. You can achieve orbit with a very rudimentary vehicle using only gyroscopes, mechanical timers and cams.

However that degree of attitude control is meaningless, next to what's required for intercepting a space target.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2009-May-08, 09:39 PM
To elaborate on what joema just wrote, the Soyuz ST with its new digital flight control system (first flown in 2004) is the first R-7 derivative capable of adjusting its orbit with roll or yaw steering during launch. While all previous versions had simple three-axis stabilization, they would fly a precomputed flight path by adjusting only the pitch of the rocket. The inclination of the orbit was set by rotating the launch pad and rocket to the desired heading before launch.

Doodler
2009-May-14, 04:01 PM
A direct impact kinetic kill weapon isn't necessary. A debris speader would cripple the station and its escape craft just as completely as a direct impactor, possibly even MORE destructive.

I'd be more terrified of 200 pounds of 1 ounce steel ball bearings than a 200 pound steel slug.

joema
2009-May-14, 06:04 PM
A direct impact kinetic kill weapon isn't necessary. A debris speader would cripple the station and its escape craft just as completely as a direct impactor, possibly even MORE destructive...
As explained above, the 3D volume of space is so large that debris isn't a reliable method, if using non-precision guidance. It would be an incredible long shot, like drawing a Royal Flush in poker.

Imagine you're flying in a plane and another hostile plane is 1 mile behind you. You release a handful of BBs out the window. The chance of even a single hit would be miniscule. Space is like that, only more so.

It's for that very reason that all past and current ASAT weapons have used either nuclear warheads or precision hit-to-kill kinetic warheads. They didn't foolishly overlook the simple approach of using a debris-spreading or fragmentation warhead to compensate for non-precision guidance.. Rather they didn't use that because it just doesn't work in space.

Scamp
2009-May-14, 06:22 PM
Doh.

TRUTHisnotfacts
2009-May-15, 03:55 AM
I think they get to much attention and its all cute but there experience is far less than most of earth and there a good 50 years behind China and they still cant get a man on the moon .