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Real Space Combat: 2050

From: Joachim Heck - SunSoft <jheck@E...>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 17:51:29 -0400
Subject: Real Space Combat: 2050

Samuel Penn writes:

@:) The big problem in space is delta-vee - or rather the lack of it.

  And note that this problem gets worse the closer to present-day
reality you get.  Today we have basically zero delta-v once we're in
space.	Certainly not nearly enough to avoid missiles or railgun
bullets or whatever.

  I would guess that space combat will have to start out (if it starts
soon) with extremely fragile ships, presumably not designed or poorly
designed for space combat, which are completely incapable of
withstanding any weapon's attack.  Since the ships are likely to be
difficult to replace, I would think the first goal would be building
effective countermeasures.  I don't know just what these would be but
I will suggest some ideas with an eye towards getting people's
creative juices flowing - that will in turn get me a cool game of
earth-orbital combat in 2050 or maybe 2100 without me doing any work.

  So on January 1, 2050, the inhabitants of the Mir space station,
vengeful because their Khazak (Byelorussian?) government has decided
to let them die up there rather than paying the US to fund a rescue
mission, direct their external maintainence robot to expend all of its
fuel and place it on a carefully calculated trajectory... one which
crosses paths with Space Station Alpha.

  What happens next?  How do our heroic astronauts save their station
(launched only three years ago due to budget constraints)?  If that
(heavy) robot runs into the station it will cause severe, possibly
fatal damage.  Even if it doesn't, it will throw the station's solar
panels out of alignment - and without power the station will have to
be abandoned.

  So what happens?  And whatever happens, how does the DOD make it
into a weapon within the decade and start a war?  Preferably one
resolvable by Full Thrust, with whatever modifications are required.


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