posted on May, 17 2005 @ 09:22 PM
I have not seen anyone address this possibility before, and it has kept me awake all night on more than one occassion.
Moderator, you may want to pull this post if you think it is too dangerous.
For some time I've worked with Rocoons, rockets launched both by remote control and automomously from high altitude platforms lofted to 80KFT or more
by simple weather balloons.
Since loft weight has always been a concern we learned to build the rocket body, largely by hand, out of carbon fiber/epoxy. A 12FT long rocket body,
no motor or payload, weights less than 10lbs. We used solid fuel propellent: it's cheap, reliable and readily available from commercial sources.
With a 40lb payload of electronics (including full telemetry and GPS) we could hit Mach3 and 200-300KFT, in theory. From a launch at 20KFT we hit
better than Mach 2 and 74KFT. Ours was an unguided rocket; full, active guidance systems were on the drawing board.
Compared to aircraft, especially planes, rockets are easy.
They are also sloppy, limited, and for terrorist purposes, unnecessary.
OK, this is were the nightmare begins.
High altitude air is cold. Freezing cold, Below 0F cold. Solid rocket fuel does not like the cold, so to keep our rocket motors from pranging we
developed an insulated launch tube; some devisively refered to it as a "Launch-Box" as in a sandwich and a Thermos of milk. The tube allowed us to
store and transport the rocket, served as the attachment point for the weather balloon array (several would be used in tandem to provide enough lift
to acheive the desired launch altitude), protected the rocket from the intense cold at high altitude, served as the launch gantry and even provided
passive launch azimuth control. The launch tube was IMHO, one of the keys to the success of our program.
As you might of guessed, I was largely responsible for the design and construction of the launch tubes we used. No fancy materials, no great expense.
Each tube cost $40-50 US in materials, took 2 days to build, could support a fully loaded 100lb rocket inside and 50lbs of equipment strapped to its
The whole thing was built of packing tape, 2-part 5 minute epoxy, and Foam board, like you'd use to mount photographs/posters.
Simple, and completely invisible to radar.
Think about it; a vehicle costing less than $1000, capable of ferrying 100lbs of C4?, Anthrax?, radioactive cesium dust from an old Russian
"battery"? Hauling its payload hundreds, possibly thousands, of miles from its launch point to a pre-determined, on-board GPS confirmed (picked it
up at Radio Shack) drop point.
All while floating virtually undetectable by sight or radar, at 100KFT or more, high above the defenses of virtually every nation on earth. To spy
sats it would look like nothing more than one of hundreds of weather balloons released every day all over the world. Benign. Innocuous.
It's going to be a long night.