Roosevelt Lafontant had a dream. A Marine Corps officer assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office at the Pentagon, Lafontant had a back-row seat in late 2001 as the Marines spearheaded the invasion of landlocked Afghanistan. To reach Kandahar from their assault ships, the Marines had to fly more than 400 miles over Pakistan in rickety, heavy-lift helicopters. "There's got to be a better way," Lafontant recalled thinking.
Lafontant's original dream, now on hold, was to land squads of troops from near-orbit, using a vehicle he called Sustain, short for "Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion."
Lafontant's space-plane got close to becoming reality, albeit in a very different form than he had first imagined. In 2008, the Marines teamed up with the Air Force and Special Operations Command to begin turning Sustain into a platform for deploying unmanned systems, anywhere in the world, on short notice.
In that way the Sustain lander, launched by a mothership, might itself have become a mothership used to deploy robotic aircraft from very high altitude over enemy territory. The lander would then spiral down to a landing in a nearby friendly country while the UAV completed its "suicide" mission.
More than 300 would-be passengers have already put down more than $45 million in deposits for $200,000-a-seat rides on the plane. The experience will include a roller-coaster rocket ride to a spaceworthy altitude of more than 65 miles, several minutes of weightlessness, a picture-window view of the curving Earth beneath the black sky of space ... and spaceflight bragging rights for years afterward.
Then in April 2013, the civilian SpaceShipTwo flew for the first time after dropping from the belly of its WhiteKnightTwo mothership. SpaceShipTwo could begin commercial operations into near-orbit as early as December. Inasmuch as Sustain is a militarized SpaceShipTwo, then at least the concept of robotic Space Marines is still viable … and Lafontant's dream lives on.
Drop Pods are atmospheric assault transports that are primarily used by the Adeptus Astartes and their Chaos Space Marine counterparts for orbital insertion and planetary assaults where achieving tactical surprise is often an important factor.
originally posted by: Sparkymedic
a reply to: yourmaker
I don't know about you but I would MUCH rather the next major war not be on earth. By all means please take Uncle Sam's Misguided Children "space marines" off planet to do what they do best as I enjoy my steak from the local farm and the potatoes from my garden... Here on earth.
And when I say off planet...I mean out of orbit...preferably out of the moons orbit as well.