60

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 Launch America, and the message has always been "Launch American astronauts from American soil in an American capsule on American rockets (for the first time ...


59

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 this mission is The payload is maneuverable for prephasing I will leave it to the reader to decide on the probability of a nation maneuvering their satellite ...


44

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 for this reason. the Minuteman boosters in the Lower Stack were designed to be launch (sic) from a climate controlled silo with virtually no outside weather ...


43

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 crew walkout, 2000. The guards were not only on the ground. Image source Personal photo at STS-135 launch, 2011.


41

There was originally supposed to be a "blue" (Air Force) Shuttle. Military missions benefit from retrograde orbits, so there was originally supposed to be a west coast launch facility (Vandenberg) as well. The shuttle was saddled with large cross-range landing requirements which were entirely due to the DoD's involvement (and never used). As chiron has ...


35

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 perigee/ apogee in that range, which will likely be shrinking quickly. It is expected that it will be similar to the debris cloud from USA-193 (Operation Burnt ...


29

There were shuttle launches which had military tasks: STS-4 24 Jun 1982, Columbia Crew: Thomas K. Mattingly II, Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr. Payload: Classified US Air Force payload of two missile launch-detection systems STS-51-C 24 Jan 1985, Discovery Crew: T. Mattingly, L. Shriver, E. Onizuka, J. Buchli - all military and G. Payton - military engineer (his ...


29

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 Organic Marble's answer for a fuller perspective. Initially, it began as a temporary program. In the late 1950s, the US military needed accurate and timely ...


28

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 Moon (!) at 20:25 into the video but does not discuss how. To sum up, there were no specific technical proposals in the speech, about water or anything really. ...


25

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 Vandenberg), launch a satellite and land at Vandenberg within one orbit. This (specifically, the HEXAGON satellite) was the initial driver for the length of the ...


23

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 does include information from members of the military who ended up absorbed into the shuttle program. The early spy satellites used film cameras and then ...


19

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 only differences I can see between the Space Force currently proposed by the administration and the Space Corps previously proposed by members of Congress is ...


18

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 purpose was to predict cloud cover over foreign countries so that the expendable film in the Corona satellites would not be used up taking pictures of the tops of ...


18

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 some uncertainty in the rank (see remarks below the table). Name Branch Rank in 1959 PG Date of birth 1. Malcolm Scott Carpenter Navy Lieutenant* O-3 May 1, 1925 ...


16

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 site. (Space Shuttle, Dennis Jenkins, 1992 edition, page 151) Prior to the Challenger accident, when NASA was preparing to launch the space shuttle ...


16

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 falling gets faster by 9.8 m/s for every second that it falls. For example, a ball that falls from a tower (disregarding air resistance) and takes three seconds to ...


15

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 a 294 x 265 km orbit at 96 degrees inclination. Due to the nature of the event, it's likely some of the objects have apogees well above ISS orbit. At this ...


14

Yes it is possible to develop such a weapon. Example: Fractional Orbital Bombardment System It consists of a rocket and a warhead. The rocket would place the warhead into LEO where small on-board thrusters would guide the the warhead into place for it's controlled descent to the target. There was also a thermal protection system required but overall, this ...


13

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 passes using binoculars and a stopwatch, or using a camera. Then they fit TLEs to those observation, to be able to find the satellite on a later pass. You can get ...


13

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 & D plus integration to produce a single vehicle. This means that India does not, yet, have the capability to produce this vehicle in a series, which argues ...


13

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 space, America can develop the means to: Deliver unlimited, clean, affordable energy to every human on the planet without power lines or terrestrial ...


12

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) currently operated by U.S. Air Force. It also gives a background on vehicles, their known technical characteristics, and describes official objectives they're ...


11

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 highest point. The orbital period is about 96 minutes. Okay, so how could you put all of that together to get 6 daylight passes per day? The orbit is somewhat ...


11

It was, in the sense that all spacecraft have relationship to each other. Okay, beyond that, let's see how they are related. Wikipedia talks about the design of Hubble: Once the Space Telescope project had been given the go-ahead, work on the program was divided among many institutions. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) was given responsibility for ...


10

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) consisted of 174 objects according to Space Track the US public TLE database. These objects were tracked until re-entry, the last of which was 28/Oct/2009. ...


9

Of course, you can't simply "drop" the bomb — it would just stay in the same orbit as the satellite. The bomb would need a propulsion system (rocket) to decelerate. But this would certainly be possible.


9

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 February 2008). The decision to impact USA-193 while it was nearing re-entry minimized the risk of debris to the ISS and other LEO satellites. According to ...


9

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 altitude where there's a low enough air drag so your parabola can be of any size and where you don't necessarily have to immediately fall onto the Earth. This ...


9

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 Ordnance had designated Redstone Arsenal as the center of research and development activities in the field of rockets and related items. The arsenal was ...


8

Let's start from the misconceptions in your question: "Unlimited reaction mass" - there's no unlimited reaction mass in pulsed nuclear propulsion - you can go as far as your bomb supply lasts, but no further. Specifically, you cannot manufacture nuclear devices on board. "Military advantage of getting an ice-teroid" - there's no advantage to be gained by ...


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