Author Topic: Space Force and SpaceX  (Read 2313 times)

Offline cbarnes199

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Space Force and SpaceX
« on: 08/10/2018 04:47 pm »
Wanted to start a discussion about how SpaceX might contribute to a US Space Force.

The intent of this post in not to discuss whether or not a separate Space Force is a good idea.

The threat to our military space assets exists and having someone in charge of planning for protecting them will happen in some form or another at some point

SpaceX is not a military contractor, since I do not count letting the military contract for launch contracts as making them one. It does not seem likely the Elon would be in favor of designing weapons of any sort short of a flamethrower or 10,000.

That being said how would L2 readers see SpaceX and their capabilities potentially being used by a Space Force?

My take is that the current greatest threat to the US in space is the loss of military satellites such as reconnaissance and gps. 

The US itself is not under any huge military threat.  No country in the world has the capability to move enough military equipment to the US mainland to threaten a successful invasion. Including the US.  So a regional threat is much more likely.

Let us say China or Russia wanted to do some territorial expansion. Something more threatening to US interests than annexing Crimea. Invade Taiwan for instance.  It might be part of their plan to use anti-sat missiles to destroy key reconnaissance assets and/or GPS systems.  This would not stop us from responding but it could hamper the response enough to make a difference.

What is the US to do to counter this threat?

The birds themselves are not capable of much defense.  I doubt many of them have the maneuverability to avoid even a partially smart missile. So currently we need to assume they would be destroyed.

If I were in the "Space Force" I would purchase some Falcon 9 Block 5 first and second stages as well as fairings and various payload adapters and have them sitting ready at various launch sites throughout the US or perhaps even the world.

According to SpaceX by next year (2019) they will be able to perform 24 hour turn arounds from landing to relaunch.  If that is the case how short would the time be for a new Falcon 9 sitting shrink wrapped in storage to launch? Twelve hours or less maybe? Would the payload prep be more of a limiting factor?

It would seem that for much less than the billions of dollars they paid ULA to hang around, the DoD could have F9s sitting ready on both coasts and any where else they might launch from.

Having a super fast launch capability to replace any destroyed space assets seems like the best short term defense against space attack.

My guess is SpaceX could improve their launch response times greatly if given a contract to focus on just that aspect of their process. It would require a whole new launch infrastructure much larger than the current one but that does not seem out of reach of the current defense budget.


Offline Jim

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Re: Space Force and SpaceX
« Reply #1 on: 08/10/2018 04:55 pm »
Just stop with this.  Spacex is not everything space related. 

The spacecraft are doing to be a limiting factor.  And how many of each spacecraft are you going to have sitting around waiting?

SpaceX can't fix this and why give the contract just to SpaceX.

Satellites on ICBM type launch vehicles is the fix.

Offline Roy_H

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Re: Space Force and SpaceX
« Reply #2 on: 08/10/2018 05:05 pm »
If another power was to take down these military satellites, wouldn't they be capable of destroying the newly launched satellites as soon as they reach orbit? Replacement is important, but you need a defense, and that is likely to be a method of detecting the launch of threatening missiles and destroying them before they get to the target satellites. Takes us back to Reagan's Star Wars system.
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Space Force and SpaceX
« Reply #3 on: 08/11/2018 12:39 am »
Just stop with this.  Spacex is not everything space related. 

Yeah it is. Outer Space didn't even exist before SpaceX. Elon did Apollo.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

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Re: Space Force and SpaceX
« Reply #4 on: 08/11/2018 01:21 am »
Maybe SpaceX and Blue Origin can help with the economics of deploying an LEO anti-ballistic missile constellation along the lines of Brilliant Pebbles. Otherwise I agree with the responses so far.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Space Force and SpaceX
« Reply #5 on: 08/16/2018 09:13 pm »
... Space treaty on peaceful use of outer-space...
« Last Edit: 08/16/2018 09:14 pm by Rik ISS-fan »

Online Lar

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Re: Space Force and SpaceX
« Reply #6 on: 08/17/2018 03:43 am »
... Space treaty on peaceful use of outer-space...
... worked really well to deter the Chinese from testing ASAT weapons. But that's off topic.

The point here is not what can SpaceX do, (not ever thread has to be about SpaceX) but rather what can generic rapid turnaround high reuse low cost launch capability do for a nascent Space Force? how should designs of space assets change to take advantage of it, if at all?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY