Jun 282012

Here’s a mid-1980’s Martin Marietta painting depicting a satellite  capable of holding and launching a multitude of missiles. As this came from a promotional video dealing with the Star Wars program, these missiles are presumably anti-missile missiles. Oddly, they seem to launch from both ends of the satellite.

Was this painting derived from a serious engineering design? I don’t know, but I do know that it bears an uncanny resemblance to the Soviet bomb satellite model built for (but cut from) “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

 Posted by at 11:15 pm
  • Jordan

    One can hope we have one of these in orbit. Militarizing space would be a good endeavor. Plus these platforms could have other functions besides just carrying missiles.

  • Michel Van

    launch rockets from both ends of the satellite in Orbit makes sense,
    you can carry and launch more interceptor rockets.
    or launch dual interceptor mode: one wave hit ICBM, while second wave hit upper stage or warhead bus.

    By the way
    there dispute under 2001 fans about Nationally of Bomb number 3.
    it mostly called “the Chinese satellite” but it show clearly “hammer & sickle” logo
    that’s the traditional logo of Soviet union
    the Chinese use a Red Star as Logo
    A Star logo is clear to see on used Bomb 6 http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/210/e81bx4.jpg/

  • Even though I’m a hawkish hawk, I have to say Jordan is wrong. Orbit is a terrible place to keep weapons. Everyone can see them, track them, and take potshots at them with ground-based lasers — or arrange unfortunate “accidental collisions.” It takes as much energy to launch a missile into orbit as it does to lob it at a target anywhere on Earth, plus you have all that cumbersome Martin Marietta 2001-inspired hardware to launch and keep on orbit as well.

    I suspect that’s one reason the US and Soviets both honored the no-weapons-in-space treaty so amiably. Neither one had any plans to put weapons there anyway.

    • Jordan

      > Orbit is a terrible place to keep weapons

      Orbit is the perfect place to keep weapons. As your (supposedly contrary) reasons show.

      > I suspect that’s one reason the US and Soviets both honored the no-weapons-in-space treaty so amiably. Neither one had any plans to put weapons there anyway.

      Actually, both the US and USSR had plans for space-based weaponry. I suspect if the Soviet Union didn’t collapse and we had a more amicable political situation here in the US, there would have been a Space Race that would have come about an an extension of the Arms Race.

    • Peter Hanely

      If your intention is “we can hit you, you can’t take out our facility without enough warning for us to launch first, but we can’t hit you on short notice”, geostationary or higher orbit works well. This assumes that projected energy weapons aren’t developed to the point of making a quick kill.

      LEO is problematic if your adversaries are worried about you making a surprise first strike, and are inclined to take action first to prevent that. A missile launched from LEO can hit a target with less notice than an ICBM.

      MAD depends on a mutual understanding of “I can’t prevent the other side from knocking me out, I can make them regret it.”

    • Christopher Weuve

      Jim’s right — it’s a terrible place for weapons, for the reasons he’s listed, plus others. For missiles, you need many many times more to get the coverage you get from a land based solution. You can’t do maintenance, and if something breaks, you can’t fix it.

      The only time when weapons-in-space might make sense is if the target is in space, too.

  • Publiusr

    I think orbit is perfect for weapon placements. Challenger took the terra 3 laser fine, and it stood out. Anything that gets near it is just another target. Better than ground based boost phase missile defense that is a tail chase between a short range solid and a longer range liquid that will outpace it over distance.

    On orbit weapons limit the call for bases, beans, bullets and carrier groups. Maybe that’s the real reason the other branches of service don’t want a Space Force–for they know that it could make a lot of what they do obsolete.

  • Anonymous

    That is a satellite “garage” for kinetic kill vehicles – what became Brilliant Pebbles. The name for this concept was “Space-Based Kinetic Kill Vehicle”. The garage had power, communications, etc. for the “sleeping” kill vehicles.

  • Scott… any chance you have a link to the SDI promo video you cite in the link. I’d like to see it.

  • Publiusr

    There is a new fiction book out by a Reagan operative who supports missile defense–Castle Bravo:

    I wrote her in the hopes of having support for space based assets launched by SLS.