Space Weapons Earth Wars

Space Weapons Earth Wars

Bob Preston
Dana J. Johnson
Sean J.A. Edwards
Michael Miller
Calvin Shipbaugh
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 228
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1209af
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  • Book Info
    Space Weapons Earth Wars
    Book Description:

    This overview aims to inform the public discussion of space-based weapons by examining their characteristics, potential attributes, limitations, legality, and utility. The authors do not argue for or against space weapons, nor do they estimate the potential costs and performance of specific programs, but instead sort through the realities and myths surrounding space weapons in order to ensure that debates and discussions are based on fact.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3252-2
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. TABLES
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. SUMMARY
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  9. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    Space weapons have been debated intensely twice in the modern history of space. At the beginning of the Cold War, the issue was the possibility of bombardment satellites carrying nuclear weapons. At the end of the Cold War, the issue was the possibility of space-based defenses against nuclear missiles. Aside from these debates, there has been little public discussion of the topic. Now, well past the Cold War, the topic of space weapons is surfacing again. Military vision documents give space weapons an air of inevitability. Responsible scientific advisors to the Department of Defense (DoD) have recommended development of some...

  10. Chapter Two BACKGROUND
    (pp. 5-22)

    One of the earliest literary traces of the idea of weapons coming from space appears in the 19th-century science fiction novel of Martian invasion by H.G. Wells,The War of the Worlds(Wells, 1988 ed.). Although the weapons had come from space with their extraterrestrial owners rather than being stationed there by nations of the earth, they included many of the kinds of weaponry we will see in later chapters: meteoroidlike capsules entering the earth’s atmosphere from space to deliver cargoes of weapons; heat rays, which we would recognize as infrared lasers; chemical weapons; and the nemesis of the Martian...

  11. Chapter Three KINDS AND CAPABILITIES OF SPACE WEAPONS
    (pp. 23-50)

    By space weapons, we mean things intended to cause harm that are based in space or that have an essential element based in space. The degree of harm we include in defining space weapons may range from temporary disruption to permanent destruction or death. This definition does not include things that are based on the earth and transit space without achieving orbit, such as ballistic missiles. Although the dynamics are similar, the logi.more important, the legal regimes are different for the two types of weapons.

    We also do not mean things in spr,” not mature.estrial weapons, such as reconnaissance, navigation,...

  12. Chapter Four EMPLOYMENT
    (pp. 51-66)

    It may seem premature to discuss employment issues for weapons that the United States has not even decided to acquire, but such issues are a necessary part of defining and understanding proposed new capabilities, particularly those that exploit technologies that are not widely understood. This chapter will argue that an understanding of space weapons must relate their technical characteristics to their possible uses and command structure. This is important for several reasons.

    First, deciding whether to acquire new capabilities should be grounded in an understanding of how they could be made most useful to the warfighting commanders. The current space-based...

  13. Chapter Five HOW MIGHT THE UNITED STATES ACQUIRE SPACE WEAPONS?
    (pp. 67-84)

    This chapter addresses the following questions:

    Under what circumstances might the United States decide to acquire space weapons?

    If that decision is made, how might the transition occur? What sorts of strategies are available, and what are the possible consequences?

    The first question presumes a conscious decision to develop and acquire space weapons. Incidental or accidental outcomes might also be possible, in which the U.S. government makes no deliberate decision to develop space weapons, but related technologies and systems developed for commercial or other purposes then become available for or are applied to military operations. We will examine this possibility...

  14. Chapter Six HOW MIGHT OTHERS ACQUIRE SPACE WEAPONS?
    (pp. 85-100)

    The previous chapter looked at ways the United States could come to a decision to acquire space-based weapons for use against terrestrial targets. Two of these ways depended on another nation’s decision to acquire space weapons. Depending on the nature of the other nation and its decision, the U.S. alternatives and response could be very different. How might other nations decide to acquire their own space weapons?

    The United States is not the only nation with the opportunity to acquire space weapons. The only option that is proprietary to the United States—lethal directed-energy weapons—is so simply as a...

  15. Chapter Seven CONCLUSION
    (pp. 101-108)

    The primary purpose of this report is to provide a common vocabulary and a common set of expectations for the discussion of space-based weapons. The capabilities of such weapons are similar to those of weapons based on terrestrial and atmospheric platforms, differing somewhat in degree and suffering some inherent constraints. Space basing could grant some advantages in access, reach, and promptness in exchange for increased logistic expense and limited ability to concentrate (particularly for defense) or penetrate (earth, water, or weather).

    Orbital basing of some kinds of weapons seems to have a number of advantages (although some of these may...

  16. Appendix A SPACE-BASED DIRECTED-ENERGY WEAPONS
    (pp. 109-130)
  17. Appendix B KINETIC-ENERGY SPACE WEAPONS
    (pp. 131-172)
  18. Appendix C NATURAL METEOROIDS AS WEAPONS
    (pp. 173-184)
  19. Appendix D BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE COUNTERMEASURES
    (pp. 185-188)
  20. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 189-202)