posted on Oct, 8 2006 @ 03:17 AM
Any viable long lasting weapons system or platform today is mobile..portable. They are not located in a fixed position.
Oh please. How many missile silos and airfields do you know that are mobile?
The first threat which tosses /anything/ into our hemisphere is going to get nuked by multiple redundant-by-the-numbers counterfire and so is going to
have to be Pretty Damn Desperate to be so freakin' STUPID.
OTOH, a Fajr could be mounted on a container ship and fly a nuke into Boston Harbor from 30 miles past the TL and what the hell are you gonna do about
it? You're gonna radioisotope isolate the manufacturing plant and if it's inside Russia or China, you will likely choose to nuke Iran or Norkia
Fixed platforms are very inviting targets. By the article it takes a long run up time for this design to even get ready for a launch. The main target
to stop a platform operation like this is the power supply. This thing would take alot of juice. This is the main drawback to its portability...the
power supply. The ring itself would have to be precisely aligned. Electrical contacts precisely made..little or no line losses.
Blah, blah blah.
Lets talk domination of the 'High Frontier' as the first precondition to being /able to target/ this kind of a system. Do you honestly supposed
that Cape Canaveral and Houston (and Alice Springs and SPACECOM and and and) are any LESS easy to spot?
Never mind the realities of trying to play Olympic Discus on a worldwide basis with a weapons platform that needs HOURS to spool up.
This is _exactly_ what it seems like. A desperate attempt to shoestring our way back into having a (small) satellite launcher without having to pay
for a true HLV. Since it appears the bloody Chinese are into dazzling our overhead in an attempt to completely 'remove themselves from
accountability' we may well need a NIRTS option to put small sats into orbit.
Except, oh wait, isn't that called 'Pegasus'? Snort.
Remember...designers are considering electromagnetic catapults for aircraft carriers. They are having a number of technical difficulties with the
design going from concept to actual installation.
o to 150 knots with a 40-70,000lb payload is a 'wee bit different' from slinging a tiny ass basketball sized system up into orbit at _hypersonic_
(23X the speed of sound people) velocities.
This is not a new concept. This was visualized many years ago back when they realized that magnetic levitation technology was possible and the
directions it could be taken. I recall reading articles on it over ten years ago in popular science or mechanics..etc etc. The articles back then were
for preciesly what the original poster had in mind...a inexpensive way to launch payloads into outer space.
No doubt. Let's also talk about some realistic problems:
1. It's easier to get small objects up to extreme velocities in a short run than large ones up to low velocities in a long one. Now you want to get
large ones up to extreme velocities in a long run. Stabilizing any kind of USEFUL (40,000lb endurance platform satellite) payload for the 'hours'
needed to accelerate it to orbital velocity is ridiculous. Heat and electromotive performance variations in the magnetic tracks. Shifts in payload
mass both before and during ejection which cataclysmic consequences to the ring (low yield nuclear equivalency).
2. HEAT, HEAT, HEAT.
Teeky Darts and Soda Straws this ain't. You wanna go 17,480mph at sea level? You had damn well better evacuate the ENTIRE ring of air. Completely.
Because even the most minor of leaks is going to be like striking a match against a brick wall. If it doesn't shatter, it'll burn the shroud and
possibly divert the unit off course (if dense enough). AFTER which you will have to 'vent to outside' a system which has still likely accumulated
heat on the order of hundreds of degrees just from the magnets. So that instead of striking the match you are ramming it head first.
Depending on whether you're on French, Chinese or American systems, anything which goes up is going to be doing between 6 and 12G. Maybe 15 at the
outside. And it is a pretty rough ride (truck on washboard) because whether solid or liquid there are always going to be residual effects of hot gas
pressure wavefronts expanding and interacting with each other within the overall mixing and plenum area in ways that are chaotic to say the least.
Yet compare this to the equivalent of a gun launched projectile with CONSTANT loadings for HOURS on the order of 2-3,000G whipping around that seven
klick circle at roughly once per second and you're gonna have to design everything on the satellite around axial loads sufficient to withstand the
centrifical forces involved. i.e. Reinvent satellite design and up it's structural:mission weight fractions by a good 10-20%.
Another pipe dream. Especially if ANYTHING which has been said about the XB-70 type 'Mothership' and small-orbiter TAV are true. At best, this
system could serve as -maybe- a cheap lower stage replacement. Taking the satellite package up to HARP equivalent altitudes (35-50nm) where you can
perhaps reduce the total fuel and engine staging penalties for launch to a more acceptable level (again, 10-20%). The problem then being that I would
use a light gas concept and Christmas Tree configuration to pump a linear acceleration track up a fixed slope rather than waste my time doing the
roundy-roundy with an idiot-endemic EML system.
Plumbing is easy. Electrical is hard.
Even then, you'd likely need about four of these things just to get all the likely orbital inclinations covered. And this would still be a _LEO
If you wanted to OTV them up to a higher mechanic, you would have to have another system, (Solar Sailer would be elegant but a tailored expendable CRV
is more likely) probably constructed and certainly /fueled/ (uh ohhh, HLV problem again) in orbit.
With which to rendezvous and decouple/recouple the payload. Adding another level of value at risk trades for damage.
Since we have effectively abandoned the ISS to serve as little more than a bloody Killroy Was Here proof of ego; the question becomes one of 'what do
you expect to do that is useful'?
All the bigger comms and quite a few recce platforms are now shifting to high or Geo orbits, just to get the coverage at cost needed while at least
/pretending/ to be beyond the reach of earth based DEWS.