Originally posted by QBSneak000
Probably not related but....I used to wonder why on some shuttle missions there have been former Navy Seals members..... odd to me because I assumed
that it was either Air Force pilots, teachers or Dr.'s of some kind but now I'm thinking these guys were part of the Navy Space Command maybe?
I am glad you asked that
though I can already hear IgnoreThe Facts groan...
First a list of non secret NAVY astronauts (and no I don't have a list of the others.. Gary McKinnon had that and you see what kind of brown smelly
stuff he is in
Astronauts: Chronology of Space Missions Involving U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Crew Members, 1961- April 1981.
Numerous Space Shuttle missions after STS-1 have included U.S Navy and Marine Corps crew members. A list of these missions, including the names of
crew members, through November 1995, is available from the Naval Historical Center's Aviation History Branch publication, United States Naval
Its a LONG list (PDF) Naval Space History for public consumption
COL John Glenn, USMC (RET) returned to space on shuttle mission STS-95.
Military Missions of the Space Shuttle
The first military Shuttle mission was launched from Pad 39A at 1500Z on 27 June 1982. Military space missions also accounted for part or all of 14
out of 37 Shuttle flights launched from the Cape between August 1984 and July 1992. While many details of those missions are not releasable, some
features of Shuttle payload ground processing operations and range support requirements can be summarized for what might be termed a "typical"
military space mission.
SOURCE: Global Security
A military space shuttle would have been the military equivalent of NASA's space shuttle. Many experts believe that it is extremely unlikely that
NASA, the United States Department of Defense or any other Federal agency could keep the existence of such a spacecraft secret, given the official
knowledge that stated extensive technical support and launching establishment would be necessary to fly it.
It should however be noted that, early in the design phase of what eventually became the Space Shuttle, there were plans for the U.S. military to
purchase some of the vehicles for its own purposes (mainly the servicing and crewing of proposed 'surveillance space stations'). The design
requirements that thus emerged (in particular, the need for a longer-range glide capability, enabling the shuttle to land at specific U.S. Air Force
bases), affected the eventual design of the vehicle, increasing its complexity. However, none of these 'Blue Shuttles' were ever built, and the U.S.
military turned to increasingly sophisticated unmanned satellites as a more viable alternative.
Regular space shuttles have on occasion carried out missions for the military. It is noteworthy that NASA and the DoD agreed on
delivering Discovery to Vandenberg AFB, first in May 1985 and then in September of that year. Discovery would have been dedicated for military and
civilian flights from Vandenbergs SLC-6 launch complex. The schedule slipped until the Challenger Accident in January 1986. In the wake of
Challenger, on December 26, 1989 the Space Shuttle Program at Vandenberg was terminated by the USAF.
Military Shuttle flights were conducted from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the last dedicated mission being STS-53 in late 1992, deploying a
military SDS B-3 communication satellite. Some military payloads have been flown on regular civilian Shuttle missions afterwards.
The Soviet Buran space shuttle was designed with military applications in mind as well. One of the main reasons for its creation was to counter the
perceived military advantage that the NASA space shuttle gave the USA. On the first launch of Buran's energia booster the military Polyus satellite
Well, while secret launches from many sites in the world are possible, hiding a secret shuttle launch would be difficult
(though not impossible)
But lets look at the missions that, while launched in public view, were in fact secret missions...
The crew was completely US Military on these missions...
DoD Mission Patch
STS-51C - January 24, 1985
First mission dedicated to Department of Defense. U.S. Air Force Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster deployed and met mission objectives. This
mission's accomplishments are classified due to the nature of the work done. The shuttle deployed a single satellite, 1985-010B (USA-8).
According to Aviation Week, STS-51-C launched a secret, Magnum ELINT (ELectronic INTtelligence) gathering satellite into geosynchronous orbit. An
identical one was also launched by STS-33 and STS-38.
Also according to Aviation Week, the shuttle initially entered a 204 km x 519 km orbit at an inclination of 28.45 deg to the equator. It then executed
three OMS (orbital maneuvering system) burns, the last on orbit #4. The first burn is to circularize the orbit at 519 km.
The satellite was deployed on the 7th orbit and then ignited its IUS rocket at the ascending node of the 8th orbit, to place it in a geo-synchronous
The classified payload was deployed successfully and boosted into its operating orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster according to an Air
STS-51C: Classified DoD Mission
Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 250,891 pounds
Launched: January 24, 1985 at 2:50:00 p.m. EST
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: January 27, 1985 at 4:23:23 p.m. EST
Landing Weight: Classified
Rollout Distance: 7,352 feet
Rollout Time: 50 seconds
Mission Duration: 3 days, 1 hour, 33 minutes, 23 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 220 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 1.3 million
I will list the others and then link to my data page as this set is graphic intensive...
STS-51J - October 7, 1985
STS-27 - December 2, 1988
STS-28 - August 8, 1989
STS-33 - November 22, 1989
STS-36 - February 28, 1990
STS-38 - November 15, 1990
STS-39 - April 28, 1991
STS-44 - November 24, 1991
STS-53 - December 2, 1992
STS 53 was the last shuttle mission COMPLETELY dedicated to the Department of Defense... Some of the mission details are still classified today
Here is a huge satellite deployed by STS 44
STS 36 deployed the Infamous MISTY Stealth satellite that was supposedly destroyed after deployment but amateurs tracked it after. The whole thing was
an embarrassment to the Pentagon as the scientists who developed it filed a public patent.
This project also ties in with Bigelow Aerospace and was the post that 'loosened' Ignorethefacts
MISTY employed an inflatable shield, similar o Robert's Genesis modules currently in Orbit
The only tie in for this NAVY thread is the astronauts...
I will do another thread tonight on the Air Force Space Command
MISTY data and more on the DoD Missions
Military Missions Aboard the Space Shuttle - Pegasus
Hope that answers your question