Hot answers tagged

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 ...
user avatar
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 ...
user avatar
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 ...
user avatar
  • 119k
18 votes

Is it possible to covertly put an EMP weapon into an ISS-like orbit by masquerading it as a legitimate launch?

Classified satellites are launched all the time. For example, fourteen KH-11 espionage satellites were launched between 1976 and 2013, and we still have no idea what they look like. So you can launch ...
user avatar
  • 122k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 16.9k
13 votes
Accepted

What solid fuel was used in the Katyushas rocket artillery of WW2?

From Russian wiki on RS-82: RS-82 and RS-132 are unguided air-to-air, air-to-ground rockets developed during 1929-1937. Further developed into М-8, М-13 "Katyusha" rockets. It seems the final ...
user avatar
  • 246
11 votes

Is it possible to develop a small orbital rocket, like RocketLab's Electron, for a weapons delivery system?

You're quite right that 150kg is unlikely to be the final maximum payload for Electron: SpaceX's Falcon 1 was almost immediately uprated with the addition of a Merlin-1C engine, and was nominally ...
user avatar
  • 8,715
9 votes

Is it illegal for a private citizen of the US to own and operate an orbital kinetic weapons platform?

The legal definition of "Weapon of Mass Destruction" in US law is quite broad (see https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/04/definition_of_w.html ), and an orbital kinetic weapon definitely ...
user avatar
7 votes

Could artificial micrometeoroids be a practical anti-satellite weapon?

Your question contains a couple of misconceptions: a kinetic kill vehicle must have the same kinetic energy as the satellite it intends to destroy No, it doesn't. It just needs enough kinetic ...
user avatar
  • 122k
6 votes
Accepted

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

The second image is ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle which launched, among other payloads, Microsat-R (2019-006A) on Jan 24 2019, the probable target of the March 2019 ASAT test. The first image ...
user avatar
  • 9,854
6 votes

Weaponizing the Starlink constellation

I'm going to restrict my answer to only the question of "can Starlink satellites be used as kinetic weapons." I'm pretty sure the answer is "not in any practical sense." The ...
user avatar
  • 4,646
6 votes
Accepted

Why was Bluegill Prime range-safetied on the launchpad?

According to the Defense Nuclear Agency report Operation Dominic I page 232 the destruct command was sent "to prevent any possible nuclear explosion." Nuclear weapon safety systems, while robust, are ...
user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Did Project Horizon draft any proposals for small arms weapons for astronauts?

The same ideas (and in some cases the same text) get repeated in a bunch of places (occasionally without modification) and without source which was not a compelling start. There were no references to ...
user avatar
5 votes

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

At what altitude range is the resulting debris field? Update: CNN: India anti-satellite missile test a 'terrible thing,' NASA chief says India's anti-satellite missile test created at least 400 ...
user avatar
  • 148k
5 votes

Is the Nudelman-Rikhter gun installed on Zvezda module?

According to this source (in Russian), out of seven successful Salyut stations (amongst which were the three military Almaz stations) the modified NR-23 cannon was installed only on Salyut-3 (aka ...
user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Was the Salyut 3 (OPS-/Almaz-2) the only spacecraft to feature a space-to-space gun?

Salyut 3 is the only publicly acknowledged space to space weapon that has been orbited. It's possible that there are others which have been deployed in secret. The outer space treaty does not prohibit ...
user avatar
  • 18.9k
4 votes

Is it possible to covertly put an EMP weapon into an ISS-like orbit by masquerading it as a legitimate launch?

First of all, yes, a payload can be launched in to space that would remain at the key altitude for a HEMP, and stay there for some period of time. This has been discussed in terms of North Korea, for ...
user avatar
  • 119k
3 votes

What was the flight path of China's hypersonic missile that circumnavigated sometime in summer 2021?

The Chinese missile/glider was in LEO for some of its path, then re-entered the atmosphere as a glider. There is a good article in the Economist: https://www.economist.com/china/2021/10/23/chinas-test-...
user avatar
  • 6,788
3 votes
Accepted

Have "space lasers" really been used to temporarily blind US satellites?

Yes, ground based lasers have been used in an attempt to temporarily blind US satellites. Fortunately, it was the US that tried it. The US Army successfully tested the TRW-built Mid-Infrared Advanced ...
user avatar
3 votes

Has anyone suggested using an electrically powered sling or centrifuge mass thrower as a form of electrically powered spacecraft propulsion?

Both things you mention have been worked on, conceptually or actually. The paper I'm familiar with on sling launchers is one by Geoffrey Landis, but he states he is expanding on earlier work. His ...
user avatar
  • 20.9k
3 votes

Have nuclear explosions in space produced any debris that was subsequently tracked, or did all of them completely self-vaporize?

The U.S. detonated five nuclear bombs above the atmosphere. Not many minutes after one of these, nothing bigger than a molecule was left. So no debris, only a few radiation belts of high-energy ...
user avatar
3 votes

Has a rocket from a torpedo tube ever reached space?

Certainly not to Orbit The smallest rocket to deliver a payload to orbit is a Japanese sounding rocket that is 9.7 meters tall. The US heavy-weight torpedo (Mk. 48 ADCAP) is 5.8m and the Russia heavy-...
user avatar
3 votes

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

I'll just follow up a bit on the collision. Per tweet and tweet and answer and answer and post: launch 5:40 UT (27 March 2019) MICROSAT-r 43947, 2019-006A over Abdul Kalam Island 5:42 UT I've put a ...
user avatar
  • 148k
3 votes

Was the Salyut 3 (OPS-/Almaz-2) the only spacecraft to feature a space-to-space gun?

Space to Space weapons seemed like a good idea, but really isn't that great for orbiting spacecraft. First of all, what is the use case? It would only really work for spacecraft in a similar orbit. ...
user avatar
  • 119k
2 votes
Accepted

Have spaceships been tested to withstand bullets?

Not an actual bullet, but researchers fire plenty of things at spacecraft shields to test them. Here's one I found in full Performance of Whipple shields at impact velocities above 9 km/s. They fired ...
user avatar
  • 7,816
2 votes
Accepted

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

Thanks to @Ohsin's comment I have plotted the propagated orbits of 57 tracked debris objects with published TLEs as well as the TLE for (whatever is left of) the original spacecraft and the original ...
user avatar
  • 148k
2 votes

Using a sling whirled around above the head, could someone on the moon throw a stone into orbit?

Using a sling whirled around above the head, could someone on the moon throw a stone into orbit? tl;dr: probably deeply suborbital; 1192 meters, 38 seconds, either straight up or downrange at 45 ...
user avatar
  • 148k
2 votes

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

Supplementary to @Jack's answer. Hat tip to @Ohsin for recommending this interesting video about the rocket, and the test itself: Last image seen by the kill vehicle, ...
user avatar
  • 148k
1 vote

Using a sling whirled around above the head, could someone on the moon throw a stone into orbit?

Looking at the question you are linking I would be inclined to say that it is possible assuming the astronaut's suit is flexible enough and the thrower has enough endurance. (Although, remember, the ...
user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

Does the recently-tested Russian hypersonic craft enter space?

ICBM’s don’t typically fly at hypersonic speeds for the entire duration of their flight. They do typically cruise at altitudes above 100km to take advantage of reduced drag, but they do so without ...
user avatar
  • 1,954

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible