Author Topic: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions  (Read 9113 times)

Offline hoku

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #20 on: 07/18/2023 02:04 pm »
https://thespacereview.com/article/4622/1

Smashing satellites as part of the Delta 180 Strategic Defense Initiative mission

by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, July 17, 2023
<snip>
The program was named Vector Sum.
Isn't a codename supposed to obfuscate the purpose of a project? Who came up with the idea to choose Vector Sum, which is a most concise description of the function of an interceptor vehicle, for this (secret SDI) program?   8)

Offline Jim

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #21 on: 07/18/2023 02:22 pm »
https://thespacereview.com/article/4622/1

Smashing satellites as part of the Delta 180 Strategic Defense Initiative mission

by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, July 17, 2023
<snip>
The program was named Vector Sum.
Isn't a codename supposed to obfuscate the purpose of a project? Who came up with the idea to choose Vector Sum, which is a most concise description of the function of an interceptor vehicle, for this (secret SDI) program?   8)

I believe it is not a real code word

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #22 on: 07/18/2023 04:16 pm »
Yes, I don't believe it was a code word. I think it was the APL internal name for the project. I don't have any declassified documents from the program itself, but it would not surprise me if SDIO always referred to it simply as Delta 180.

Offline hoku

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #23 on: 07/18/2023 04:31 pm »
https://thespacereview.com/article/4622/1

Smashing satellites as part of the Delta 180 Strategic Defense Initiative mission

by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, July 17, 2023
<snip>
The program was named Vector Sum.
Isn't a codename supposed to obfuscate the purpose of a project? Who came up with the idea to choose Vector Sum, which is a most concise description of the function of an interceptor vehicle, for this (secret SDI) program?   8)

I believe it is not a real code word
Thanks for the clarification! I guess it fits in with "Brilliant Eyes", "Brilliant Pebbles" and "Thrusted Vector" as a two-word descriptive moniker.

Offline hoku

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #24 on: 07/18/2023 04:49 pm »
https://thespacereview.com/article/4622/1

Smashing satellites as part of the Delta 180 Strategic Defense Initiative mission

by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, July 17, 2023
<snip>
What discussions about the test took place within the White House before and after the test, and how did they affect policy?
Somewhat surprising (at least to me) the official briefing by Lt Gen Abrahamson to the president on the "technically significant results" of Delta 180 (and plans for 181) did not take place before March 1987, i.e. 6+ months after the flight of Delta 180.

https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/public/digitallibrary/smof/cos/bakerhoward/box-004/40-27-6912132-004-022-2017.pdf

Edit: this briefing might have been in preparation of a meeting of Sec of State Shultz with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze in Moscow on April 14/15, 1987.
https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB238/russian/Final1987-04-14%20Gorbachev-Shultz.pdf
« Last Edit: 07/18/2023 05:00 pm by hoku »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #25 on: 07/18/2023 09:59 pm »
Somewhat surprising (at least to me) the official briefing by Lt Gen Abrahamson to the president on the "technically significant results" of Delta 180 (and plans for 181) did not take place before March 1987, i.e. 6+ months after the flight of Delta 180.

Reagan probably got a short briefing after the test. In addition to doing the interception, there were a lot of sensor observations. Crunching that data would have taken time. But he could have been told about the basics a week or two after the mission.

Offline hoku

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #26 on: 07/19/2023 04:51 pm »
LACE/RME
Delta 180 VSE
Delta 182 TVE
Delta 183 Delta-Star
MSX
MSTI(s)
Starlab
Starbird
AFP-675 CIRRIS
SKIRT
CLEMENTINE



Thanks for that list. Should it include LOSAT-X?

https://www.thespacereview.com/article/2700/1



I forgot about that one.
"SDIO Data Center Overview" has a complete(?) list of experiments (including air and ground-based experiments/facilities) as of Jan 1991. The doc also has info on where the data were (or were to be) archived, and a few (badly scanned) pages with sample data.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #27 on: 07/20/2023 04:12 am »
"SDIO Data Center Overview" has a complete(?) list of experiments (including air and ground-based experiments/facilities) as of Jan 1991. The doc also has info on where the data were (or were to be) archived, and a few (badly scanned) pages with sample data.

Interesting discovery. That acronym list includes the Airborne Optical Adjunct, which was a weird name for a 767 modified with a laser. My memory is that AOA was really a tactical experimental platform, only good for shooting at small missiles in the atmosphere.

I seem to remember that the 767 sat in storage for many years before being scrapped. I also think it was a very early 767, maybe #2 or 3? So it's a shame that the airframe was not preserved.

Update: AOA was apparently modified from the prototype 767-200, so it was the very first 767, and it was scrapped.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_767


Photo attached.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2023 04:16 am by Blackstar »

Offline hoku

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #28 on: 09/11/2023 09:47 pm »
"History of the Space Based Laser (SBL) Concept Definition" - conference paper from 1991 with nice line drawings of the various concept phases.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #29 on: 10/18/2023 06:52 am »
Does this thread include the 70s missions that were in some sense precursors to SDI and/or Space Domain Awareness but didn't fly ? [Edit: In absence of a no, I'll assume answer is yes ;-) ... So have now attached the docs as well.]

i) If so then here's Hysat, new to me but a nuclear powered space surveillance mission design from the mid 70s that evolved to the unflown SBSS. It was mentioned in a FAS page: https://spp.fas.org/military/program/track/overview.htm#N_28_

Quote
63428F Space Surveillance Technology SBSS

In fiscal year 1976, the Space Infrared Sensor Program and the early phases of the SBSS Program were initiated. During its conceptual phase, SBSS had been referred to as Deep Space Surveillance Satellite or Low Altitude Surveillance Satellite.(28)

The 1977 Hysat Study, a part of the Deep Space Surveillance System program (DSSS), was sponsored by the USAF Space & Missile Systems Organization. Fairchild investigated the applicability of nuclear radioisotope heat sources for this mission. The rather sizable electrical power requirement (1500-3500 watts (e)) is provided by rollup solar arrays, alongside or atop the spacecraft, and attached to the upper body.(29)

The Space Based Surveillance System (SBSS) concept, which called for the deployment of four satellites in equatorial orbits at an altitude of 1100 kilometers, with the possibility of additional satellites in inclined orbits for polar coverage. The satellites were to be launched by the Shuttle using the Inertial Upper Stage, and have a design life of five years.


The Fairchild study that draws on earlier GE Rockwell and Hughes work is here: https://inis.iaea.org/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/07/268/7268806.pdf

The GAO's assessment of where it subsequently went is here: https://www.gao.gov/assets/nsiad-86-45s-17.pdf

ii) If not then where should I move this to ? One of the Teal Ruby threads ?

« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 06:09 am by LittleBird »

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #30 on: 10/22/2023 06:49 pm »
Here's what seems to me at least to be an interesting link  between Hysat/DSSS and  hoku's post above about MSX and the early days of infrared astronomy in space: https://users.physics.unc.edu/~gcsloan/library/2012/price/price08.pdf

Quote
In the late 1960s, ARPA and the Air Force SAMSO had very ambitious goals for space-
based infrared surveillance
and a succession of Air Force company grade officers pushed the
technology and flight tests. At ARPA, Maj. Bob Paulson provided Project 1366 funds to
SAMSO for the Autonetics Stellar Radiation Sensor and the Hughes HI STAR telescopes and to
AFCRL to fly them. At SAMSO, Capt. Ted Jenks directed the Autonetics SRS effort while
Capt. Bill Crabtree did the same for the Hughes HI STAR sensors. The SRS and HI STAR
provided the technical demonstration for the first proposed operational infrared surveillance
system, the Deep Space Surveillance System (DSSS), which was to fly by the end of the 1970’s.
However, a satellite demonstration was needed and SAMSO took the initial steps in 1971 by
flying two celestial mapping satellites.
The Autonetics Celestial InfraRed Mapper (CIRM) was
an analog of the SRS except that it had a two color infrared focal plane and was cooled by a large
super-critical helium cryostat. This experiment was launched on 6 June 1971 and surveyed 38%
of the sky during its brief 138 minute mission. Unfortunately, cross-talk from the attitude
control system into the sensor electronics limited the observations to the very brightest infrared
sources. The Hughes HI STAR class Celestial Mapping Program (CMP) instrument was inserted
into a sun-synchronous 793 km altitude circular orbit on 17 October 1971 on what was planned
to be a long duration experiment as the sensor was cooled by a closed cycle Viulleumier cooler.
However, two problems arose that compromised performance and lifetime. A higher priority
experiment on the payload required that the satellite be oriented such that the CMP sensor
scanned parallel to the Earth’s horizon rather than through the zenith as preferred. The photon
background from off-axis Earth radiation in that configuration reduced sensitivity. The high
priority package was to operate for the first several weeks and then emphasis was to shift to
CMP and zenith scans. Unfortunately, the cryocooler flex lines across the scan gimbal began to
leak after two weeks in orbit and CMP only obtained three orbits of data early in the mission.
Although SAMSO considered CIRM and CMP as failures and the problems with the CMP
cryocooler put a taint on mechanical low temperature coolers that lasted for decades, CMP did
obtain redundant coverage in two infrared spectral bands on about as much sky (82%) as HI
STAR and HI STAR South combined and demonstrated the feasibility of infrared space-based
surveillance from an orbital platform. Holman, Smith and Autio (1976) also used the CMP data
to demonstrate that particle radiation was not an insurmountable barrier to space-based infrared
astronomy missions (see also McCarthy and Autio, 1978).

To me one interesting aspect is how much "iceberg" there was already "underwater", i.e. pre existing R&D in the 70s and 80s *before* Reagan's speech. Bears on the question of the balance between Teller and co's X ray lasers, and other technologies which may have actually been both more mature and far more consequential.

« Last Edit: 10/23/2023 02:04 pm by LittleBird »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #31 on: 10/22/2023 09:49 pm »
To me one interesting aspect is how much "iceberg" there was already "underwater, i.e. pre existing R&D in the 70s and 80s *before* Reagan's speech. Bears on the question of the balance between Teller and co's X ray lasers, and other technologies which may have actually been both more mature and far more consequential.

I think that uncovering this would be really difficult. You'd have to go deep into the technical literature and understand it, and do a lot of interviews to figure out how the improvements in sensor technology happened. And a lot of that stuff would be classified. It might be doable for somebody working inside the field, like a DoD historian. It could be interesting stuff, but it's probably a topic that is never going to be really explored for that reason.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) space missions
« Reply #32 on: 10/23/2023 12:01 pm »
To me one interesting aspect is how much "iceberg" there was already "underwater", i.e. pre existing R&D in the 70s and 80s *before* Reagan's speech. Bears on the question of the balance between Teller and co's X ray lasers, and other technologies which may have actually been both more mature and far more consequential.

I think that uncovering this would be really difficult. You'd have to go deep into the technical literature and understand it, and do a lot of interviews to figure out how the improvements in sensor technology happened. And a lot of that stuff would be classified. It might be doable for somebody working inside the field, like a DoD historian. It could be interesting stuff, but it's probably a topic that is never going to be really explored for that reason.

Indeed, but my ambitions are really much more limited-perhaps I gave the wrong impression. I think underwater was a poor choice of words, I think I meant invisible to the general public rather than classified.

 I'd just like to read the stuff which is already out there e.g. the above memoir by Price or the 3 volume ARPA history that includes some of their SDI stuff iirc. And I'm only really interested in the science and tech that was never classified (or classifiable) e.g. that which really just needs an understanding of Stefan-Boltzmann law, or optics, or ...

« Last Edit: 10/23/2023 02:04 pm by LittleBird »

Tags: sdi reagan sr-71 
 

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