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Questions tagged [military]

Questions regarding systems of or relating to armed forces.

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Why does the Minotaur I wear a yellow jacket that "banana-peels" off as it launches?

Videos available of the recent Minotaur I launch at Wallops for NROL-111 show a yellow jacket on most of the four stage SRB-to-orbit launch vehicle. I read or heard somewhere that wires attached to ...
uhoh's user avatar
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36 votes
3 answers
12k views

Why were the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts backed up by guards with automatic weapons?

The photo in NPR's 4 Astronauts Aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Successfully Dock With Space Station shows the four astronauts standing in front of a serious-looking military vehicle flanked by at least two ...
uhoh's user avatar
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33 votes
4 answers
13k views

Was the Space Shuttle ever actually intended for the military to steal satellites without the owner's consent?

Related: Did the Space Shuttle have "military uses"? (This question is discussed in comments, but not really conclusively answered.) One of the military requirements that was added on to ...
ikrase's user avatar
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33 votes
5 answers
9k views

India just shot down a satellite from the ground. At what altitude range is the resulting debris field?

This tweet from India's prime minister Narendra Modi says: मेरे प्यारे देशवासियों, आज सवेरे लगभग 11.45 - 12.00 बजे मैं एक महत्वपूर्ण संदेश लेकर आप के बीच आऊँगा। I would be addressing the nation at ...
uhoh's user avatar
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31 votes
6 answers
9k views

Did the Space Shuttle have "military uses"?

In an interview with Oleg Kotov, a Russian cosmonaut, he makes an ambiguous statement on the military uses of the Space Shuttle: New Scientist: After the cold war, why didn't Russia maintain its ...
coleopterist's user avatar
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22 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why does the U.S. military maintain their own weather satellites?

Why does the U.S. military maintain their own weather satellites like the DMSP Block 5D2? What's the difference to "normal" weather satellites? Do they use other sensors or orbits? If they have ...
mike's user avatar
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19 votes
6 answers
3k views

What does space have to do with providing "fresh water ... without the need for aquifers or pipes?" as Steven Kwast suggested?

In this speech, retired U.S. Air Force General Steven Kwast (ostensibly fired for promoting a U.S. Space Force over objections from the outgoing Secretary of the Air Force) suggests the U.S. space ...
tdMJN6B2JtUe's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
17k views

Was Hubble really related to spy satellites?

Around the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, I remember comments in the media that the Hubble may be related to certain espionage satellites. The Hubble was designed and built around the time that ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
770 views

What could the X-37 be useful for?

While U.S. Air Force doesn't disclose the tasks and roles for the X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle class spacecrafts, there are many things known about the vessel, such as its delta-v budget, its cargo bay ...
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15 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can cosmic ray muons be used to replace GPS for positioning information in 3D on Earth and underwater?

Task & Purpose's The Navy is testing a GPS-like device that doesn’t require satellites “The future is extremely bright for this line of research." begins: The Navy is researching a new ...
uhoh's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
410 views

How does the US's 2008 debris cloud compare to India's 2019 and China's 2007 contributions?

The NPR News article NASA: Debris From India's Anti-Satellite Test Raised Threat To Space Station discusses last week's antisatellite test by India described further in answers to India just shot down ...
uhoh's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

How close was the U.S. DoD to getting their own space shuttle?

This answer explains that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) had plans for their own space shuttle. The so-called "blue shuttle" would be operated by the U.S. Air Force out of Vandenberg Air Force ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
3k views

The strange orbit of Ofeq 11 - how does it (actually) do this?

I assume the retrograde orbit ($\theta_{inc}=142°$) is a side-effect of geography - ocean overfly access only lies West of the secured launch site - this article in Spaceflight 101 makes several ...
uhoh's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

How (the heck) are military satellites with (apparently) classified TLEs still showing up on sat map websites?

As I first noted in this comment I couldn't get TLEs for the recently launched OFEQ-11 spy satellites from space-track.com. When I looked at Search Resuls: OFEQ 11 Satellite details 2016-056A NORAD ...
uhoh's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did the Mercury Seven compare in military seniority?

The seven Mercury astronauts were required to be military test pilots, which in turn meant that they held a rank as a military officer. At the time they were chosen (i.e. not later promotions), how ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
5k views

Would it actually be feasible to drop a nuclear bomb from a satellite?

During the Cold War, one of the main reasons for space exploration was military/propaganda purposes. One of the things that the US was worried about was the prospect of a nuclear bomb being dropped ...
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11 votes
2 answers
460 views

How many of these six military "orbital threat" techniques have been demonstrated in a (more or less) publicly recognized way?

If you are having a good day then under no circumstances should you read the US Defense Intelligence Agency's Challenges to Security in Space1 (Information cutoff date, January 2019) linked in Axios' ...
uhoh's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
853 views

Is India having the military capability to "take out" a satellite in orbit still in question?

BBC News's article SpaceCom: Trump launches space warfare command says at the end: China, Russia and the US have all tested weapons that are capable of taking out a satellite, according to research ...
uhoh's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
7k views

Can a military satellite be used to spy on any place on Earth undetected? [closed]

Of course like many people I only know about military satellites from movies, so I wanted to get some information (perhaps get some myths debunked) by some experts: Can the military use a military ...
RedZ's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why was Redstone Arsenal specifically chosen for post-war rocket development?

We have had questions on the origin of JSC, KSC, White Sands, and Wallops Island. Today is MSFC's turn. After World War II, many of the officials of the German rocket program -- including leader ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
850 views

Does the US Navy guard SpaceX drone ships and make sure bad actors don't abscond with critical technology on the high seas?

SpaceX loses the center core of its Falcon Heavy rocket due to choppy seas While I thought my question How vulnerable could space launch vehicles be to a “lone gunman”? was just my tangential ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
416 views

What force do the armed guards guarding the Crew-1 crew belong to?

In the comments to the question Why were the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts backed up by guards with automatic weapons?, the question was raised what force the guards in the photo belong to. In particular, ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could you launch rocks from the Moon to hit Earth?

In the Robert A. Heinlein novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the plot famously revolves around sending rocks from the Moon to Earth, launched via electromagnetic rail gun and the impacts looked like ...
Johnny's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
524 views

Has a rocket from a torpedo tube ever reached space?

Are submarine launches horizontal? is a general question and specifies by name two large ICBMs which are likely to need to be launched vertically. Since the large naval submarines usually come ready-...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the furthest from Earth that a military spacecraft is thought to have been intentionally deployed or moved to?

Space.com's Space Force plans to send a patrol probe out past the moon includes a quote from the new AFResearchLab video Cislunar Highway Patrol System (CHPS). "Until now, the United States ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it correct that the US wants to form a new branch in the US Military as US Space Force?

I read in the news sometimes ago that Mike Pence proposed to form a new division in the US military as US Space Force. So I want know how it could be possible cause the space is not necessarily a ...
Mithridates the Great's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
513 views

What was the lifetime of the debris from the US Anti-satellite exercise for USA-193?

The United States shot down a satellite (USA-193) in low Earth orbit, with Hydrazine on board, to prevent a toxic disaster. They did it at low altitude to prevent long lived debris. Was such a ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
838 views

Why isn't Project Orion the new space race? [closed]

With a huge robust ship you could go get an ice-teroid. With effectively unlimited reaction mass, finely balanced trajectories become unnecessary and launch windows a thing of the past. A pulsed ...
Peter Wone's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
846 views

Were the "frogmen" who performed ocean recovery Navy SEALs?

The ocean landings of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo were assisted by "frogmen" rescue divers. They were dropped from helicopters to assist with the recovery of the crew and capsule. The U.S. ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
7 votes
1 answer
871 views

Why was Bluegill Prime range-safetied on the launchpad?

Bluegill Prime1 was a planned launch of a nuclear weapon into space on a suborbital Thor missile and its (the nuke’s) ensuing detonation in space as part of Operation Fishbowl (a series of U.S. ...
Vikki's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
155 views

How is decided the winner for US military satellites launch contracts and what criteria are necessary to be completed for these contracts?

SpaceX and ULA are the only two companies currently authorized to launch US national security payloads. These two companies will compete with each other to win the contracts for national military ...
Mark777's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
331 views

How will the Air Force decision to discontinue the space fence due to sequestration affect contractors?

Recently, Air Force Space Command indicated that the space fence will be discontinued on October 1.[source] Due to resource constraints caused by sequestration, Air Force Space Command officials ...
called2voyage's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
372 views

Why does this "Midas missile early warning satellite" have a tilting cone with such a complex black-and-white checkerboard pattern?

Clicking on images of historic satellites led me to the airvectors.net page Foundations Of Automated Space Technology which includes this image and passage: A number of Samos satellites were also ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
1 answer
807 views

What was so "Mini" about Minitrack?

In the US Naval Research Laboratory video Vanguard 60th Anniversary: A Look Back Roger L. Easton says: Now, how did Vanguard Start? I think it’s fair to say that Milt Rosen started the Vanguard ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
2 answers
514 views

What did India's recently tested ASAT vehicle really look like?

Following up to India just shot down a satellite from the ground. At what altitude range is the resulting debris field? which shows the first image below (also seen in video) I also found the second ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
1 answer
632 views

Did the "don't ask don't tell" policy affect American astronauts?

Until very recently, no astronauts were known to be LGBT. Only after her death did we discover that Sally Ride was a lesbian. And Anne McClain became an astronaut after the repeal of DADT. Don't ask ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 5,068
5 votes
1 answer
256 views

How to decide if the rocket most recently tested by North Korean is classified as long-range or medium-range launch?

The Reuters article Russia, U.S. duel at U.N. over whether North Korea fired long-range missile describes some ongoing United Nations Security Council discussion related to the classification of the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Intercepting another satellite

Given the orbital elements of two satellites and the delta-V capabilities of one of the satellites, how can you calculate the maneuvers required to have the earliest possible interception? For ...
PixelArtDragon's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
410 views

What military forces provided Space Shuttle search and rescue?

The Space Shuttle had various ways to abort a mission. These included shutting down on the launchpad before the SRBs ignited (RSLS), turning around to land at a runway near the launch site (RTLS), ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
4 votes
3 answers
546 views

A black cube 1 mile per side appears in geosynchronous orbit around the earth. Who would spot it and how would they do it? How easy would it be?

This is not intended to be a math question, so much as an understanding of how the current technology and techniques would view this problem.
john's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
665 views

Besides the video game and Nine Inch Nails box set, what is HALO-IV? How does it relate to the testing of ICBM interceptors?

Near the end of the Raytheon Technologies YouTube video Missile Defense Agency completes unprecedented homeland defense test can be seen what looks to me like thermal infrared footage of a ship-...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
2 answers
178 views

How many spy satellites could be destroyed before the debris field would be too massive to launch moon or mars manned missions?

Obviously this is very statistical. Basically I'm looking for an order of magnitude. One geostationary satellite would cause a pinball effect or would it be more like 10 satellites? I'm concerned ...
Rob Rogers's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
919 views

What is the difference between Cape Canaveral SFS and Patrick SFB?

Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base are two facilities of the United States Space Force (both formerly assigned to the Air Force) on the east coast of Florida. They both ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
4 votes
4 answers
410 views

How would the US military switch to re-usable rockets?

The Ars Technica article After 25 years, military told to move from “expendable” to “reusable” rockets gives me pause. The military rockets I'm aware of generally explode at end of mission by design (...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
1 answer
301 views

Has a spacecraft ever actually sprayed a chemical (or anything) on to another spacecraft intentionally for any reason at all?

The question How many of these six military "orbital threat" techniques have been demonstrated in a (more or less) publicly recognized way? begins: If you are having a good day then under ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
2 answers
211 views

Would laser and beamed energy anti satellite weapons cause much space debris?

Laser and other beamed energy weapons, in orbit or from Earth, could potentially make their targets malfunction from overheating and perhaps even partial melting. Would this be a way of space warfare ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Have spaceships been tested to withstand bullets?

This answer on Worldbuilding (to "How to solve the old 'gun on a spaceship' problem?") posits that ISS can easily withstand a bullet fired from a handgun Our current micrometeorite shielding can ...
DVK's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
1 answer
142 views

Examples of short satellite durations?

In the past I (think) I've read of artificial satellites which are designed to go into orbit quickly to deal with a short term need for observation of some type. I'm now struggling to find a ...
glaucon's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
0 answers
139 views

Which countries have military satellites in orbit?

Which countries have active military satellite(s) in orbit? And which countries had military satellite(s) in orbit but don't have them anymore (inactive or de-orbited)? Wikipedia says: As of December ...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,650
4 votes
1 answer
239 views

What prompted NASA to establish a KSC SWAT Team?

Based on this question, it looks like KSC has not only its own police department (which is fairly common for large facilities, even things like universities) but also a SWAT team, which apparently was ...
ikrase's user avatar
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