61 votes

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

Why were the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts backed up by guards with automatic weapons? A NASA crew launch is a highly-visible symbol of US national pride. I mean, the slogan for the whole campaign is ...
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59 votes
Accepted

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

I believe this can be debunked by referring to the actual requirements for Design Reference Mission 3B. (DRM 3B being the famous one-orbit-and-grab-a-satellite mission). Mission Requirement g. for ...
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44 votes
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Why does the Minotaur I wear a yellow jacket that "banana-peels" off as it launches?

The jacket is to control the Propellant Mean Bulk Temperature, a critical factor in solid rocket motor performance. The silos for the missiles that the launcher was derived from were air-conditioned ...
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43 votes

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

Partial answer covering only Is this a new thing, or were similar military guards around to guard Shuttle crews as well? It is not a new thing. Photo by former colleague Michael Grabois at STS-101 ...
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40 votes
Accepted

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

Can the military use a military satellite to spy on any place on Earth? Yes, but only in the absence of clouds. The highest resolution imagery is only available during the day. I strongly suspect ...
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  • 11.1k
35 votes

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

The apogee/ perigee of 2019-006A, the object likely shot down, was 260- 282 km, pretty low. Some of that debris could be quite a bit higher, but most of it will be lower, and all of it will have a new ...
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  • 118k
29 votes
Accepted

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

Note: This answer is based on a source from 2001. It provides a lot of background as a historical overview, but it does not take into account recent changes in the program. Please review the end of ...
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  • 23.5k
28 votes

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

The speech is available in full here: https://dc.hillsdale.edu/News/Latest-News/The-Urgent-Need-for-a-U-S-Space-Force/ It's extremely general and non-technical. He talks about getting water from the ...
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25 votes

Did the Space Shuttle have "military uses"?

One of the design drivers for the Space Shuttle was an Air Force requirement for a cross-range of 2000 km. This was laid out in Reference Missions 3A and 3B: 3A: launch into polar orbit (from ...
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  • 121k
23 votes

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

Supplemental to Organic Marble's answer from the requirements, some discussion on the thought process behind them is in the book 'Into the Black' which while not necessarily the most up to date source ...
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19 votes
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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 Army as US Space Force. It's not just Mike Pence. It's also Donald Trump, and also members of Congress. The ...
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  • 62.8k
18 votes

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

The specific needs of the military may not be served by civilian weather satellites. Specifically, the DMSP started as a classified program that supported the Corona spy satellite program. Its ...
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18 votes

How did the Mercury Seven compare in military seniority?

The Mercury selection process started on February 2, 1959 with the first meeting at the Pentagon, so I will keep 1959 as the rank evaluation year, which results in the following ranks. (*) denotes ...
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  • 11.9k
18 votes

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

From what that paper says, it's based on the flight time of highly-relativistic muons between a reference detector at the surface and the final detector under the water. There are three or more ...
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  • 3,221
17 votes
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How close was the U.S. DoD to getting their own space shuttle?

The plan was not for the Department of Defense to have an additional Orbiter built for it. Instead, the Orbiter Discovery (OV-103) was to be dedicated for DOD use and based at the Vandenberg launch ...
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17 votes

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

There are other satellites that were launched that went beyond GEO: SOLRAD 11A and SOLRAD 11B by the US Naval Research Laboratory: SOLRAD 11A was one of a pair of identical satellites that were ...
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17 votes

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

With respect to item 3, blurring photos - yes this happens. It does not however happen through cloaking technology but rather more boringly by various organizations requesting it of either the company ...
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16 votes

What does it take for a craft to perform a flight simulating weightlessness without having to fly a steep parabola/ellipse?

In order to achieve "weightlessness", you don't need to achieve a certain speed, you need to achieve a certain acceleration. Earth pulls down at approximately 9.8 m/s^2 which means that any object ...
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  • 14.6k
15 votes

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

At this time, it is not yet known. There are some 250 objects observed, but it takes time to catalog them all. The object destroyed was most likely MICROSAT-R (TLE catalog number 43947, which is in ...
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  • 16.7k
14 votes
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How (the heck) are military satellites with (apparently) classified TLEs still showing up on sat map websites?

There is an international network of observers of classified satellites, organized around the Seesat-L mailing list: http://www.satobs.org/seesat/seesatindex.html They typically look for satellite ...
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  • 1,248
14 votes

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

It is fairly trivial to disprove the "not above GEO" line, at least... Vela 1A was operated by the USAF and has a circular orbit in HEO at ~100000km perigee, for example. Things in Molniya ...
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13 votes
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Is India having the military capability to "take out" a satellite in orbit still in question?

If you listen patiently to the first video in the answer to your question What did India's recently tested ASAT vehicle really look like?, you'll hear that this was a one-off. It took 2 years of R &...
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13 votes
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What does space have to do with providing "fresh water ... without the need for aquifers or pipes?" as Steven Kwast suggested?

The article says that the page has been adapted from Kwast's speech, so it's possible someone transcribed something wrong or misunderstood. Taking an excerpt: With the right vision and strategy for ...
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  • 18.7k
12 votes
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What could the X-37 be useful for?

In November 2010, Secure World Foundation (SWF) published their X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Fact Sheet (PDF) that is a conjecture on the purpose of the two Boeing built X-37B OTV (Orbital Test Vehicles)...
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  • 75.3k
11 votes
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The strange orbit of Ofeq 11 - how does it (actually) do this?

Okay, first of all, let's collect all of the information we need to do anything with this: The orbit is 600 km. The inclination is 142 degrees. (-38) The Middle East's latitude is about 38 N at the ...
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  • 118k
10 votes
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What was the lifetime of the debris from the US Anti-satellite exercise for USA-193?

There's two things to look at in answering this question. First the large, track-able objects, and second the small un-track-able objects. The large objects (I'm defining large as big enough to track)...
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  • 4,361
10 votes

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

In the late 1949, the Army designated the Redstone Arsenal as their R&D center for rocket-related activities, presumably to consolidate the efforts in one location: In October 1948, the Chief of ...
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  • 11.9k
9 votes

Was Hubble really related to spy satellites?

This answer addresses the headline question, rather than the detailed content that suggests a connection between HST and a KH9. There may be a connection between the Hubble and a KH11. Refer here ...
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  • 8,848
9 votes
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How does the US's 2008 debris cloud compare to India's 2019 and China's 2007 contributions?

There are some great excerpts from the ODPO (Orbital Debris Program Office) at NASA Johnson that describe the results of ASAT operations by China (Fengyun-1C in January 2007) and the U.S. (USA-193 in ...
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  • 576
9 votes

What does it take for a craft to perform a flight simulating weightlessness without having to fly a steep parabola/ellipse?

It's not so much a matter of speed but one of altitude: where the atmospheric pressure is low enough that there's no air drag so one can longer be weightless without any air limitation. Basically the ...
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  • 5,742

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