Author Topic: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms  (Read 7206 times)

Offline Story

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21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« on: November 06, 2018, 10:14:38 PM »
Couldn't find a pre-existing thread as such, so here goes.

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The 107-country Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from being placed in or used from Earth's orbit. What they didn't count on was the US Air Force's most simple weapon ever: a tungsten rod that could hit a city with the explosive power of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

During the Vietnam War, the US used what it called "Lazy Dog" bombs. These were simply solid steel pieces, less than 2 inches long, fitted with fins. There was no explosive — they were simply dropped by the hundreds from planes flying above Vietnam.

Lazy Dog projectiles (aka "kinetic bombardment") could reach speeds of up to 500 mph as they fell to the ground and could penetrate 9 inches of concrete after being dropped from as little as 3,000 feet.

The idea is like shooting bullets at a target, except instead of losing velocity as it travels, the projectile is gaining velocity and energy that will be expended on impact. They were shotgunning a large swath of jungle, raining bullet-size death at high speeds.

That's how Project Thor came to be.

Instead of hundreds of small projectiles from a few thousand feet, Thor used a large projectile from a few thousand miles above the Earth. The "rods from god" idea was a bundle of telephone-pole-size (20 feet long, 1 foot in diameter) tungsten rods, dropped from orbit, reaching a speed of up to 10 times the speed of sound.

https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-rods-from-god-kinetic-weapon-hit-with-nuclear-weapon-force-2017-9

Made me think of this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrEQOj4ep8U
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 10:25:32 PM by Story »

Offline Story

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2018, 10:36:59 PM »
NASA Admits Alcubierre Drive Initiative: Faster Than The Speed Of Light
http://www.thescinewsreporter.com/2018/03/nasa-admits-alcubierre-drive-initiative.html

Offline Frank3k

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2018, 01:34:25 AM »
Sorry, Story - but NASA isn't "working" on this. White and his team did get a small grant from NASA and some basement space, but they are this >< close to being cranks and are definitely poor scientists and engineers. I read their first paper and it looked like it had been written by "C" grade high school students, with glaring errors (even for non-scientists). The "EMdrive" is pure BS and the effect has been proven to be nothing more than small thermal motions caused by microwave heating of the cavity.

The Alcubierre "drive" is interesting, but it might as well use ground up Unicorn horn - it literally has unreal physical requirements. It also doesn't address some basic, tested and proven issues with relativity (causality, mainly).

Offline elmayerle

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2018, 12:14:37 PM »
There have been a number of sf stories, both written and graphic novels, employing the "rods from god" approach; Larry Bond's Lash-Up and the comic Albedo come immediately to mind and I know there are plenty of others(yeah, the comic is anthropomorphic, but well written and drawn).  Heck, KEW weapons for planet attack are stock in David Weber's "Honor Harrington" universe, but very carefully regulated by the major star-faring powers to prevent destruction of civilization on a planetary level and violation of this can bring swift and hard retaliation.

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2018, 11:19:28 PM »
One of the touted benefits of Thor is/was the ability to penetrate to deeply buried structures and this is very true, tungsten being what it is. The other benefit is that it creates a near nuclear level of blast without all that nasty fallout and radiation, which is also true. But you don't actually get the maximum of both at the same time.

The blast occurs form the rapid exchange of kinetic energy between the projectile and the surface. And, like any impact situation, if you elongate the time of the event, you lessen the abruptness of the energy transfer. In this case the more the rod penetrates, the longer it takes and the less abrupt the energy transfer, the less blast that gets generated.

To be clear, by the time the rod has stopped relative to the ground, all the energy is transferred, so you don't actually lessen the amount of transfer, but by achieving a deep penetration, you actually lessen the blast at the surface.

To maximise blast you need something like a Thor "Dumdum" round. A projectile that, upon impact collapses as much as possible and, as instantaneously as possible, transfers all that KE to the ground.

Not that I've given this any thought or anything...

Paul

Offline Kelmola

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2018, 12:46:00 AM »
"Rods of God" also assumes that air resistance is negligible, that projectile manages to fall near-vertical the entire distance and does not burn up and is not blown off target by air currents. Or maybe I have misunderstood and these would be actually guided projectiles, and maybe I overestimate the effect of air resistance.

Now, when we move on from mere gravity-aided projectiles to relativistic kill vehicles moving at a significant fraction of lightspeed (by the power of Orion drive, ion drive and plenty of patience, or handwavium), then things get really interesting, so much so that you pretty much have to design your entire sf universe around the fact. IMO Honorverse and Battletech "cheat" by having RKV's regulated to the point of never being used.

Offline Story

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2018, 05:44:45 AM »
1. Bad idea to start with*
2. Good way to backdoor some planetary defense batteries.

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — Firing a megawatt laser into space with the goal of attracting alien attention is technologically feasible, according to a new MIT study.
The research published recently in The Astrophysical Journal says the laser beacon could be “something of a planetary porch light” and find its way to possible life forms as far as 20,000 light years away.


The high-powered laser would need to be focused through a 30 to 45-meter telescope, study author James Clark says. A telescope of that size does not currently exist but there are plans to build one in Chile. And he says the U.S. Air force once developed a laser of the required strength which was meant to shoot down ballistic missiles.

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/11/07/mit-space-laser-aliens-earth/

The US Air Force airborne laser, (ABL), designated YAL-1A, is a high-energy laser weapon system for the destruction of tactical theatre ballistic missiles, which is carried on a modified Boeing 747-400F freighter aircraft.
*
The requirement of 10 to 20 modified Boeing 747s, at $1.5bn apiece, and $100m investment a year had made the maintenance of the ABL YAL 1A not operationally viable, making the US Air Force to stop raising funds for the laser. The US Government has spent approximately $5.2bn on the ABL YAL 1A project till February 2011.

https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/abl/

Huh. If I was running the black budget, I'd hide these guys in plain sight.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Revell-1-144-Boeing-747-400-United-Airlines-Plastic-Aircraft-Model-Kit-4672U-/123036716704

* “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” Stephen Hawkins https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/world/europe/stephen-hawking-quotes.html   :icon_fsm: Ia! Ia!

« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 06:00:06 AM by Story »

Offline Story

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2018, 06:04:10 AM »
Sorry, Story - but NASA isn't "working" on this. 


You write that like I might get my feelings hurt or something. Just look all the important stuff they did -

In 2010, NASA physicist Harold White revealed that he and a team were working on a design for this faster-than-light ship, and this is the most recent design of what such a ship might actually look like. As you can see in the image, the ship rests between two enormous rings, which create the warp bubble.

Artist Mark Rademaker worked on the project with White. In the release, Rademaker asserts that he spent over 1,600 hours working on the design. The ship is called the IXS Enterprise, and it is meant to fit the concept for a Faster Than Light ship. Mike Okuda also brought input, and designed the Ship’s insignia.
http://www.thescinewsreporter.com/2018/03/nasa-admits-alcubierre-drive-initiative.html

Why do I think it looks like this -> https://www.entertainmentearth.com/product/galaxy-quest-nsea-protector-ship-preassembled-model-kit/dm9904



Offline Story

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Offline Frank3k

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2018, 08:18:55 AM »
Quote from: Story
You write that like I might get my feelings hurt or something.

No, it's a bit meta - That group is a sorry story.

Quote from: Story
In 2010, NASA physicist Harold White revealed that he and a team were working on a design for this faster-than-light ship, and this is the most recent design of what such a ship might actually look like. As you can see in the image, the ship rests between two enormous rings, which create the warp bubble.

I "worked" on a space ship, too! It was awesome and went really fast. It went even faster with red flames on the side. I was 12.

Offline jcf

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2018, 08:22:31 AM »
 ^^^^^^^ ;D ;D ;D :icon_fsm:
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
conspiracy.”
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

Offline elmayerle

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2018, 11:32:39 AM »
Then there was the concept that appeared in one of the novels by "Lee Corey" (in quotation marks because that was a pen-name, his real name was G. Harry Stine and he was one of the father's of modern model rocketry) of orbiting very high energy lasers (giga-watt or tera-watt power) that could be powered by beams coming from solar power satellites in GEO which would divert their beams from ground rectennas.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2018, 12:01:48 PM »
There was also the containers full of lunar rocks that were launched at the earth from the moon in Heinlein's book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress."  That left a lasting impression on me when I first read that book in school. 
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2018, 11:50:43 PM »
"Rods of God" also assumes that air resistance is negligible, that projectile manages to fall near-vertical the entire distance and does not burn up and is not blown off target by air currents. Or maybe I have misunderstood and these would be actually guided projectiles, and maybe I overestimate the effect of air resistance.
a) They are, indeed, guided projectiles.
b) The effects of air resistance were fully accounted for in the fact that the impact velocity is about Mach 10-15. Orbital velocity is approximately Mach 25. Air resistance accounts for the difference.
c) The use of tungsten means they don't burn up. Tungsten is the _most_ refractory metallic element and one of the densest. In these quantities (i.e. a telephone pole's worth) the nose might dull, a tad, due to melting, but the rest of the structure would be solid, rigid and nearly full strength at impact. I suspect a little work on an ablative nosecone might allow the shape to aerodynamically ablate away while not reducing speed much and allowing for higher impact velocities.


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IMO Honorverse and Battletech "cheat" by having RKV's regulated to the point of never being used.

For planetary bombardment, I agree with you. For ship-to ship combat RKVs would be hard to use due to energy requirements for any manoeuvering.

Of course, the RKV regulation argument is not that much of a cheat because, essentially, the same cheat is used today with nukes. Any one use will generally call down the nukes of other nations upon the first user. It's what's kept the genie in the bottle for 75 years. The widespread nature of the various multi-planet states in the Honorverse make it plausible that no one state is big enough to get away with the use of RKV planet killers if there is that pan-societal approbation against their use. The other will band together and RKV it out of existence.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2018, 07:05:48 PM »
My first two wedding rings were tungsten, my third is titanium.  No I haven't been married three times its just that highly polished titanium is highly slippery and will fly off your finger when you are drying you hands, it is also very brittle.  :-[

Offline elmayerle

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2018, 10:27:27 AM »
Of course, the RKV regulation argument is not that much of a cheat because, essentially, the same cheat is used today with nukes. Any one use will generally call down the nukes of other nations upon the first user. It's what's kept the genie in the bottle for 75 years. The widespread nature of the various multi-planet states in the Honorverse make it plausible that no one state is big enough to get away with the use of RKV planet killers if there is that pan-societal approbation against their use. The other will band together and RKV it out of existence.
They weren't using RKV's per se, but the latest Honorverse book, Uncompromising Honor does show what happens when one star nation comes perilously close to violating the Eridani Edicts and gets slapped down hard (home system has all space-based infrastructure, minus pure habitats and power sats, wiped out).  And it's not any member of the Grand Alliance that this happens to.  I won't spoil matters further.

Offline Story

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2019, 09:25:27 AM »

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Re: 21st Century Space Weapons Platforms
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2024, 06:33:47 AM »
From Russia ??  ???