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Old 03-14-2010, 11:26 PM
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DeaconR


Space

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Targan has a couple of times brought up the idea of space based weapons, stations and so on. It is interesting, and the only reason I haven't seriously replied is because I'm wary of giving one of my players too many ideas about this. Unfortunately during the Merc phase of my campaign I had a couple of the characters go on a Moonraker style adventure and now he is convinced that all kinds of fun things could happen with strategic satellites et al. Whee, but not in my campaign. Seriously though, I wonder if anyone has explored ideas involving this stuff in their campaigns. I have the cyberpunk book "Deep Orbit" but I'm not sure how I would implement it, if at all.

The one thing I did think of was based on the novel Lifeline which has a few space stations stranded after WWIII, with the characters wondering how they are going to survive. It occured to me that one interesting adventure/campaign might involve an exchange of food for technology, with the space people finding a way to get down there, the players being involved with:
1. Finding a safe landing zone. (a decent sized runway will do)
2. Helping make safe and to equip a launch site.
3. given that in this scenario people would have to be in a place that produces enough food for trade purposes getting a convoy of it to the launch site.

From there a lot of possibilities could occur.


DeaconR

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pmulcahy

If you really want to be realistic in a T2K-type setting, very few astronauts and cosmonauts are going to survive World War 3 - not so much because they will be targets, but because the various reconnaissance, weather, GPS, communications, and military satellites are going to be targets. The US, Russians, and Chinese are believed to have tested, devised, or possibly even implemented ground, air, and space-based antisatellite systems starting in the 1960s, with the Russians starting a little later on. The satellite-based antisatellite systems ranged from missile-armed satellites to exotic laser and particle-beam systems. (One of the niftiest ones I've heard of is a Russian ASAT that is basically a big claymore mine with a radar set and a simple guidance computer -- you simply explode the warhead somewhere in the orbital path of the enemy satellite(s) and wait for them to get shredded by running into the cloud of ball bearings at orbital speed. Cheap and effective!)

The US had tested an air-launched ASAT missile as far back as the early 1980s. It's fired by an F-15 that is in a zoom climb and is almost at its service ceiling. The missile is guided by a combination of radar and clestial.inertial navigation and is updated from the ground by computers, with a system similar to the HARM missile in that if the signals from the ground or its own guidance system fails, it can predict a path for the enemy satellite using its own computer. It's a big, heavy missile (an F-15 normally carries only one), and I don't remember the designation, but it was supposedly quite effective (though also very expensive).

Supposedly, both the Russians and US have tested ground-based laser and partivle-beam antisatellite systems. The claims range anywhere from believable (but expensive) to exaggerated-sounding, but these ground-based systems are supposed to to do anything from blind reconnaissance-type satellites to be able to destroy them outright. And I suppose there could also be ground-based ASAT missile systems, though I haven't heard of any.

Then of course, you have the science-fiction/drawing-board-type stuff, such as armed Space Shuttles and spaceplanes, orbital missile platforms, etc.

The upshot of all this is: soon after the start of World War 3, there is going to be a LOT of debris in orbit, far more than there is now. And both unmanned satellites and manned spacecraft are going to run into that debris; at orbital speed, something the size of a BB can put a pretty good-sized hole in a Space Shuttle. And the amount of debris in orbit will increase exponentially, as satellites get destroyed, other satellites get destroyed by the debris from the first ones that got destroyed, etc. The only advantage to being an astronaut in World War 3 is that you'll die a quick death as opposed to suffering from the misery the rest of the planet is suffering.

If your players are really intent on going into space during or before World War 3, give them that rosy scenario to chew on.


pmulcahy

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Matt Wiser

The missile Paul's talking about is the ASM-135. Live tested against a satellite once, in 1984, and the eggheads running the satellite were upset their bird was the clay pigeon, as it was still returning scientific data. The Dummycrats in charge of Congress then passed a ban on further live tests unless the Soviets resumed their own tests-their weapon was a modified SS-9 ICBM with the big Claymore. One interesting fact is that all F-15s built since 1980 (when the missile was being designed) are wired to carry the weapon, even today. Which begs the question...did development continue as a "black" project? (I was at an airshow a couple of years ago and got to sit in a F-15C's cockpit, and noticed on the weapons-control panel ASAT.....I knew full well what that was for.) If they'd killed a really dead satellite, would there have been the fuss?

Another interesting thing is that the Soviets tried to get the space shuttle covered under one of the SALT treaties-seems the Politburo heard the GRU screaming about the shuttle being used to either capture satellites, or have astronauts go EVA with limpet mines....hey, spacewalks are dangerous enough as it is-you don't need to add explosives to the mix. Considering how the Soviets were tinkering with recoilless rifles attached to Soyuz capsules...(among other ideas for armed space stations) no suprise there.


Matt Wiser
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Targan

Yay! I was hoping there would be some discussion on this stuff. Let me first say that I have not suggested extensive manned orbital missions during or after the war. DeaconR and I have spoken in these forums about the possibility of International Space Station astronauts coming down in one of the Soyuz escape capsules and ending up somewhere odd or unfortunate like the Antarctic, but I have never suggested that PCs ever end up in orbit or anything like that.

Readers of these forums from a while back may recall that one of the NPCs in my campaign, F-15 pilot Lt John Johnson, has an ASAT badge because he used one of those ASM-135s to take down a satellite, specifically the one detailed in Satellite Down.

I thought about suggesting space based nukes but there really is no need, what with all the other nukes available to all sides anyway. And has any side been found out putting nukes in orbit there would have been hell to pay. But my suggestion about ortillery goes well with Paul's mention or claymore-type ASAT satellites. Both systems are actually VERY doable, they are quite low tech and would be easy to deploy in orbit and fire in anger. Aside from the supernatural elements in my campaign, I am really only interested in realistic types of play, realistic units, tactics, equipment etc. While there are no KNOWN RL instances of ortillery or claymore ASAT satellites being deployed, they very easily could be. That is why I favour them for T2k.


Targan

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pmulcahy

Recoilless rifles in space! I remember when they were first kicking around the ideas for Skylab, one of the first was for the astronauts to rife a Saturn Five into orbit, then blow a hole in the upper-stage and basically clean out and build Skylab themselves. That idea got scuttled in a big hurry because the astronauts told them rtright away there was no way they were going into orbit with explosives...

Anyway, another system I just remembered was something I read about in a Time magazine in my doctor's office the other day. It's called "Rods of God," and it is basically a huge DU round fired from space with a rocket motor and thrusters that are just big enough to de-orbit and guide it, and a GPS guidance package. By the time it hits its target, even a small DU round would be going fast enough to take out a pretty large bunker positioned deep underground.

Anyway, Sir John Hackett's book, The Third World War - The Untold Story has an interesting story about the use of the F-15-based ASAT missiles in World War 3, and pilot who first used them, one of the USAF's few female combat pilots. She was called the first "space ace" due to the amount of ASAT missions she flew and the satellites she killed.

As for the PC's (or whoever) coming down in a Soyuz -- that's actually better than coming down in in a Shuttle for an adventure hook. Because of the Soyuz's landing system (using a parachute + retrorocket system, along with a landing bag and reinforced capsule floor), the capsule can literally land almost anywhere on the planet. Couple that with the fact that Soyuz capsules of the time period of Twilight 2000 tended to land way off-course due to their crappy computers, and you could have something very interesting happen! (There was an RL incident of a Soyuz coming down in Turkey, and another where something that was called a Progress but is believed to be a spy satellite coming down just inside the Chinese border.)


pmulcahy



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Rainbow Six

Wasn't there a Challenge adventure about a Space Shuttle landing somewhere in Africa? Or am I getting totally confused with something else? (which is a distinct possibility!!)


Rainbow Six

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Matt Wiser

There was a Challenge article about the various space plaftforms (space stations, Hubble, etc.). It does mention Columbia flying the last mission in T2K and landing in Africa (the TAL abort site in Banjul, Gambia). One of their adventure suggestions was going there and retrieving the shuttle.

Paul, the female AF pilot killing satellites was Maj. Amy Nakamura, call sign "Buns". She was in Red Storm Rising, not in Hackett-he had a different female pilot-Maj. Edwina Lodge, who led a B-52 raid on a Soviet air base in Guinea. Maj. Nakamura's score was 3 Tu-16 Badgers (she ran across them while ferrying a brand-new F-15 to Europe), and two Soviet RORSATs.



Matt Wiser

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DeaconR


Maybe it isn't likely. I'm just curious about the possibilities. Does anyone have that Challenge article btw?


DeaconR

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pmulcahy

I have that article. Send me an email address in a PM.


pmulcahy


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Jason Weiser
Roadkill on the information superhighway

Me,
I tend to take the view that for the most part, LEO is a mess. Every ASAT device known and unknown got used, and it's crammed LEO and the lower geosync with junk...I dunno why in hell anyone would take out Hubble...it's pointed the wrong way, and it's in HEO. Even if you turn her around, her resoultion isn't what a KH-12 or Lacrosse in LEO can get you.


Jason Weiser

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Targan

The DU space weapon talked about by Paul sounds much like the ortillery I was talking about. Not very high tech, very doable.
Challenge magazine article about space stuff sounds excellent. I don't have it but would LOVE toget it!.
Who needs some chick pilot getting ASAT kills? I've got one of my favourite NPCs doing that!


Targan

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chico20854

Soviet ASAT battlestation details:
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/polyus.htm

The prototype failed to launch sucessfully and Glasnost killed it off. But had it reach operation...

And other Soviet military space programs (FOBS, ASAT, etc) at:
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/spactive.htm#Military



chico20854





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DeaconR

Wow thanks again, what a lot of info I'm getting on this subject...
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