Author Topic: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war  (Read 5579 times)

Offline Graham2001

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Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« on: 11/11/2012 12:39 AM »
Sometime in Mid-1966 NASA asked several companies, including Goodyear, Westinghouse, Boeing & Grumman to work on a secret project designated as Project ABLE.

The objective of the project was to design a Saturn V launched orbiting solar reflector that could be used to provide full-moon equivalent illumination and which could be ready by late 1968/early 1969 (eg around the time of the Apollo 8 launch).

Goodyear designed a 2100ft (700m) diameter double-sided mirror that was be placed into a stable Molniya-style orbit. Control was to be from the ground inside the targeted area. For their study Goodyear assumed the aiming point was to be at 15 North which, assuming this is in some way tied into the Vietnam War was a line passing just south of the town of Quang Ngai. (I'm going to cover Grummans submission in a future post)

Project ABLE. Volume 1: Summary (Former classification: Confidential)

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770071989_1977071989.pdf


Project ABLE. Volume 2: Technical (Former classification: Confidential. Document comprises a single sheet stating the report has been de-classified)

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770071990_1977071990.pdf


Project ABLE. Volume 2: Technical addendum 1 (Former classification: Secret)

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770071991_1977071991.pdf
« Last Edit: 11/11/2012 03:33 AM by Graham2001 »

Offline spaceduck484

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Re: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« Reply #1 on: 02/22/2013 08:30 PM »
Graham2001 - Fascinating post! Do you happen to know where I could find the Grumman or Westinghouse proposals? Please point me in the right direction.

This story is straight out of James Bond!

Thanks!

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« Reply #2 on: 02/23/2013 01:15 AM »
I've been unable to locate any information on the Westinghouse proposal.

The details of the Grumman proposal, which involved modifying an LM to carry the mirror are contained in these two documents.


Feasibility Study of Utilization of LM for Project Able - Vol. I - Technical Summary

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076663_1979076663.pdf

Feasibility Study of Utilization of LM for Project Able - Vol. II - Technical Report

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076664_1979076664.pdf

Strangely the most recent update to the NTRS seems to have removed the incomplete part two of the Goodyear report at present the document is only available from offline sources.

Offline Archibald

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Offline Jester

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Re: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« Reply #4 on: 08/26/2016 05:36 PM »
Local mirror for:

Feasibility Study of Utilization of LM for Project Able - Vol. I - Technical Summary
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076663_1979076663.pdf

Feasibility Study of Utilization of LM for Project Able - Vol. II - Technical Report
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076664_1979076664.pdf


Project ABLE.  Volume 1:  Summary
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770071989_1977071989.pdf

Project ABLE.  Volume II:  Technical (comprises of a single sheet stating the report has been de-classified)
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770071990_1977071990.pdf

Project ABLE.  Volume II:  Technical addendum I
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770071991_1977071991.pdf
« Last Edit: 08/26/2016 05:43 PM by Jester »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« Reply #5 on: 08/27/2016 10:45 AM »
War is boring is replete with all kind of crazy studies related to the Vietnam war. That jungle was nearly indestructible, and so were the Ho-Chi-Minh trail and the Paul Doumer bridge. Project Able was not the nuttiest idea explored.

The way I see it, the Vietnam war was a budget orgy (or financial carnage), and any mad scientist could hope funding for his pet, nutty technology provided it blasted the jungle one way or another.

Another example was Gerard Bull, Mr orbital launch gun. He had contact with a Navy guy that hoped Bull could upgrade the battleship guns to double their range, striking (you guess) the Ho Chi Minh trail at lower cost than all those fighter-bombers.

Another was the CH-54 flying crane turned into a bomber, dropping a 20 000 pound bomb to blast the jungle.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2016 10:51 AM by Archibald »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« Reply #6 on: 08/27/2016 03:50 PM »
Not to mention Wernher von Braun and the V-2....

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« Reply #7 on: 08/29/2016 05:56 PM »
Another was the CH-54 flying crane turned into a bomber, dropping a 20 000 pound bomb to blast the jungle.

15,000lb bomb actually: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLU-82

It was originally going to be droppable by a CH-54 but that was not pursued when it became clear that the Skycrane would be significantly vulnerable and difficult to maneuver so the C-130 was used instead. It was called an "LZ-in-a-can" and used to clear helicopter landing zones in the dense jungle. (Or from what I understand to clear out possible ambushed in a obvious landing zone prior to the arrival of the troops)

It reeked so much havoc and created so much debris though it wasn't very effective really and most were stored till they were used in Iraq.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Project ABLE - Apollo/Saturn goes to war
« Reply #8 on: 08/29/2016 06:02 PM »
It reeked so much havoc and created so much debris though it wasn't very effective really and most were stored till they were used in Iraq.
Shock waves shred not necessarily clear zones. And the debris mounds around. Now you have to clear the mound/debris to path to beachhead.

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