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Why would a nation bother building a bombardment satellite?


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Tl;dr verison: It seems like bombardment satellites tend to most often be used on their owners. WHY BUILD THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.

So I curiously looked up the backstory of CoD: Ghosts, and *spoilers* half the U.S. gets smashed by their own rods-from-god satellite (ODIN) when the enemy hijacks it. Millions die.

Brushing aside any Hollywood-esk inaccuracies or the way the Federation hijacks it (why use space marines when you can use robots?) , I would first want to say that a virtual nuclear arsenal in space would have to follow the same rule of two safety rules that nukes require. There's not that many details on ODIN, but I'm going to say that any enemy should not be able to turn a super weapon on its owners so easily or quickly. It's like one second is return from EVA, and the next is OH NO FEDERATION OH NO THEY'RE SHOOTING AT OUR CITIES OH NO!

Why would the United States or any other super power build such a weapon? It seems like only reason why it was around in the story was to be used on its owners. I understand that the satellite is simply a plot device for the story of a mostly multiplayer game, and the CoD franchise uses crazy moments in their story (No Russian, east coast invaded, ISS blows up, etc). But I find this event highly implausible due to the lack of safeties and the why-is-the-sat-there-in the first place.

My personal guess is that the DoD wanted ODIN built in exchange for an expanded space program.

I dunno. I was just irked by that one plot point. Rant over.

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This was also done in the movie, 'Space Cowboys', if I recall currectly. During the Reagan era, such installations probably would've made a LOT of sense. Unlike ground installations, you could have a source of missiles, of which the whereabouts were unknown to anybody but you. Therefore, if someone were smart enough to disable your nuclear capabilities on Earth, you would still have this wildcard in orbit that could hit a target in half if the time that it would take conventional MIRVs to do.

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mostly, coverage. a weapon can deorbit and strike a spot anywhere on the globe within a few hours. indeed irl though, probably wouldn't be a devastating weapon on the order of city destruction... real life kinetic impactors don't deal more damage than conventional explosives unless they're accelerated to greater than orbital velocity, and city destruction with ICBMs is cheaper than building orbital platforms. probably would carry conventional explosives, used for a fast strike to support other units or preemptively.

in the days before nuclear weapons and transistor computers, space stations could be used for bombardment since they would be sort of hard to hit, anti satellite rockets wouldn't have been very accurate + cheap, and they could carry large computers or humans to carry out firing solutions.

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mostly, coverage. a weapon can deorbit and strike a spot anywhere on the globe within a few hours. indeed irl though, probably wouldn't be a devastating weapon on the order of city destruction... real life kinetic impactors don't deal more damage than conventional explosives unless they're accelerated to greater than orbital velocity, and city destruction with ICBMs is cheaper than building orbital platforms. probably would carry conventional explosives, used for a fast strike to support other units or preemptively.

in the days before nuclear weapons and transistor computers, space stations could be used for bombardment since they would be sort of hard to hit, anti satellite rockets wouldn't have been very accurate + cheap, and they could carry large computers or humans to carry out firing solutions.

For your first paragraph:

ICBMS strike in half an hour. Furthermore, since they are either sub or land based, they're harder to find than orbital weapons, which are both more visible and have easily predicted movement(limited deltaV, otherwise stuck in one orbit.)

You're right on kinetic projectiles, although they make great bunker/tank busters.

Using Mirror satellites as a range extension for a ground based laser cannon would be more practical. The sats don't need ammunition, all they need are reaction wheels, power, and adaptive optics, so they can be small, maneuverable, and relatively cheap. The cannon itself is a hardened ground installation, so killing the sats only prevents laser fire in the area they're covering, and you can always launch more.

You wouldn't want to put a combat laser on the sat, though. Too much needed mass to launch, especially if you want the sat to move.

Orbital power farms would need a microwave emitter, though, which could be re-purposed in a pinch. Although they'd be stuck in geosynchronous orbit over they receiving station, so they can only hit targets on the same hemisphere.

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For your first paragraph:

ICBMS strike in half an hour. Furthermore, since they are either sub or land based, they're harder to find than orbital weapons, which are both more visible and have easily predicted movement(limited deltaV, otherwise stuck in one orbit.)

You're right on kinetic projectiles, although they make great bunker/tank busters.

Using Mirror satellites as a range extension for a ground based laser cannon would be more practical. The sats don't need ammunition, all they need are reaction wheels, power, and adaptive optics, so they can be small, maneuverable, and relatively cheap. The cannon itself is a hardened ground installation, so killing the sats only prevents laser fire in the area they're covering, and you can always launch more.

You wouldn't want to put a combat laser on the sat, though. Too much needed mass to launch, especially if you want the sat to move.

Orbital power farms would need a microwave emitter, though, which could be re-purposed in a pinch. Although they'd be stuck in geosynchronous orbit over they receiving station, so they can only hit targets on the same hemisphere.

yeah, a mirror sat is much more flexible.

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As evidenced by Iran and recently Russia hijacking an RQ-5 Hunter drone.

There is no good reason to build a bombardment sattelite currently. A space based laser in turn, would be a very powerful anti-missile system.

A few 100 years in the future I could just see Earth putting some rods of god, or railguns, or whatever, in orbit around the moon after Mars declares independence :P

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Laser cannons would be great, if we had any idea how to build them.

Orbital kinetic weapons are great bunker busters, better than nuclear weapons in that role. They also have destructive power comparable to small nuclear devices while not being nuclear, which makes it much easier politically to use.

That being said, you don't really need to keep them in orbit, you can launch them when you need them, and you can probably have more energy on impact by using all your delta-V on a suborbital trajectory rather than spending some in orbiting, changing orbit then orbiting.

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Laser cannons are a thing. You'd need a heavy lift launch vehicle to get a laser cannon including the power systems into orbit, perhaps even 2 launches. Several military lasers are currently in development (THEL, ATL, HELLADS). THEL has already shown its capabilities back in 2000 and 2001 when it shot down 28 Katyusha rockets and 5 or so artillery shells during a test.

THEL is a chemical laser however, so it needs fuel, and a sattelite using a chemical laser would need to be refueled after a given number of shots fired.

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Anyway this can be done simpler by jamming, use an directional radio beam like an tracking radar on the same band as the drone use to communicate with the satellite and it might very well block the signal from the satellite.

Most UAV is set to return to base if they loose communication but it has been plenty of drones lost, they are pretty new technology and they are also made to be cheap so they lack much of the triple redundancy used in manned planes.

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I remember reading somewhere that the remote control connection between American drones and their operators aren't secure in any way.

Hands up who'd like to control a satellite.

Which seemed to be a big plot point in Black Ops 2 (drones getting hijacked). I'm not 100% sure if the infinity ward and treyarch CoD's are in the same universe. If they were, you'd think America would have more safeties on their weapons systems after getting their drones hacked.

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Which seemed to be a big plot point in Black Ops 2 (drones getting hijacked). I'm not 100% sure if the infinity ward and treyarch CoD's are in the same universe. If they were, you'd think America would have more safeties on their weapons systems after getting their drones hacked.

Not long ago it turned out that the launch code for America's missile system was 00000000, for roughly 20 years.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2515598/Launch-code-US-nuclear-weapons-easy-00000000.html

Even the Spaceballs had more sense than that.

Oh well, at least the code wasn't "admin."

Edited by vger
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Laser cannons are a thing. You'd need a heavy lift launch vehicle to get a laser cannon including the power systems into orbit, perhaps even 2 launches. Several military lasers are currently in development (THEL, ATL, HELLADS). THEL has already shown its capabilities back in 2000 and 2001 when it shot down 28 Katyusha rockets and 5 or so artillery shells during a test.

THEL is a chemical laser however, so it needs fuel, and a sattelite using a chemical laser would need to be refueled after a given number of shots fired.

These things can't do anything close to what a rod-of-god can. They might prove useful to destroy rockets in flight, but they can't possibly used to destroy fortified ground targets.

Not long ago it turned out that the launch code for America's missile system was 00000000, for roughly 20 years.

Not the launch code, the code on one of the mechanical locks. The army didn't want these locks in the first place, since they would slow down operations if you needed to use the weapon.

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Not long ago it turned out that the launch code for America's missile system was 00000000, for roughly 20 years.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2515598/Launch-code-US-nuclear-weapons-easy-00000000.html

Even the Spaceballs had more sense than that.

Oh well, at least the code wasn't "admin."

until recently (and probably still) 90%+ of all core routers on the internet used the manufacturer default for the admin password.

Left them all wide open to attacks. Only reason they weren't compromised more often was that no computer criminal was considering the people running such things to be so stupid as to not change the admin password.

Setting all those ICBMs to 000000 was no real problem as the launch crews would not have got the code, and were trained not to be tempted to use them in the first place.

The entire reason to have such codes at all is flaky for those things as the moment someone gets told to launch he's authorised anyway, and people without authorisation are kept far away by multilayered physical security.

It's like having a keypad on the door to the server cabinet which is in a locked room with 2 armed guards in front of it which is in a hallway with the only other door having multiple locks and armed guards, which is on a floor you can only get to with a passcard that's in a building you need a passcard to get into that you have to show to an armed guard, that sits on a campus with a 10ft high electrified fence around it and a tank barrier for the only opening in that fence.

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