Guns in Space!!!!!

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JMStacey

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Jun 19, 2003, 7:28:05 PM6/19/03
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Hi,
I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
arm an astronaugt how could you do it
Thanks
John

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Matt Walsh

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Jun 20, 2003, 5:28:07 AM6/20/03
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Laser or energy beam would be best.
Matt W.

On Thu, 19 Jun 2003 23:28:05 +0000 (UTC), JMStacey wrote:

> ...


Matt Walsh El Paso, TX
OS/2 Outpost....................
Computin' & Shootin in the dust.................

Steve Leoce

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Jun 20, 2003, 5:31:09 AM6/20/03
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You certainly can't use a kinetic energy based weapon, not without
disrupting the vehicle's attitude, and most likely structural integrity --
space vehicles are generally very flimsy equipment as they have no external
pressures to cope with.

If they existed in portable, the way to go would be with directed optical
energy.


"JMStacey" <jmst...@aol.com> wrote in message
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PapaBear

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Jun 20, 2003, 5:40:20 AM6/20/03
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With a Colt phaser of course, duhhh!

"JMStacey" <jmst...@aol.com> wrote in message
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nataS

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Jun 20, 2003, 5:42:00 AM6/20/03
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"JMStacey" <jmst...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu...
# Hi,
# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several
US
# Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed
to
# arm an astronaugt how could you do it
# Thanks
# John

Hmm... the potential to screw yourself with a gun in space is immense...
First off, a few basic rules:

1. Never fire a gun while not attached to something really massive. If
you do, you might find yourself rotating in a most unpleasent manner, while
departing from where you were.

2. Never, ever shoot the wall of your vehicle. While the danger of
"explosive decompression" of aircrafts is a myth, it would probably be
leathal in a vacuum.

3. Be aware of local gravitational conditions. I'd hate to shoot at
someone, miss, and get nailed be my own suborbital bullet 20 minutes later.

4. Intervehicular combat and extrovehicular combat need very different
weapons.

Now that that's out of the way...

Inside a vehicle, I'd probably go with a .45. Big mass, good energy against
a person, but would lack penetration against something designed to keep
pressure in and vaccum out. Not to big, not to much recoil, and I think
it'd work in zero g's. With a good grip on something, one should be able to
keep from spinning around and flying off somewhere.

Outside, shooting at another extravehicular combatant, a 5.56x45mm, necked
down to 4.5mm, with a 60 grain tungsten projectile. The main goal:
Penetrate the suit. That's all that's needed. With a hole, the resident of
said suit will die fairly quickly. I think a smoothbore would be just as
accurate without an atmosphere, eliminating the need for super-fast twists
in the barrel.

Inside, shooting at another vehicle. Speed beets steel. Take the main gun
from an M1A1, have the computer compensate with thrusters for shots, and
poke holes. Won't take to many before everyone inside is dead, or the C&C
center is uninhabitable.

Outside, shooting at another vehicle. The first response? You're screwed.
Second idea: A TOTALLY recoiless rocket launcher, with a shaped charge/HEAT
warhead. Once again, the goal is to poke holes. The enviroment would take
care of the rest. If the rocket imparted any recoil, well, you're drifting,
spinning, and otherwise in a large pile of excrement.

filgworth

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Jun 20, 2003, 5:44:19 AM6/20/03
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jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# Hi,
# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
# Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
# arm an astronaugt how could you do it
# Thanks
# John
#
That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
(since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,
or you could design something along the lines of a gauss rifle (which
uses magnetism and transfer of momentum to speed up an object).
Though firing any such device (explosive or magnetic) is not the
brightest idea unless you are tethered to a much more massive object,
because the transfer of momentum from the firearm into your body will
blow you backwards... and then, well, off into the vastness of space
you go :)

Hmmm, so then I guess the best all around solution would be to arm
said astronaut with a high power laser. Although I have always felt
that a beam of photons is alot less menacing than a hot ball of lead
flying through the air.

Ronald Bloom

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:21:18 AM6/21/03
to
# Hi,
# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that
several US
# Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you
needed to
# arm an astronaugt how could you do it

A SIG P226 will work in space, but as with Newton's law, the bullet will
continue in motion and remain in motion until acted upon by an outside
force, so it could travel through space forever.

Samuel W. Heywood

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:21:33 AM6/21/03
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On Fri, 20 Jun 2003 09:44:19 +0000 (UTC) filg...@myrealbox.com
(filgworth) wrote:

># Hi,
># I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that
>several US
># Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you
>needed to
># arm an astronaugt how could you do it
># Thanks
># John
>#
>That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
>the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
>(since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
>if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
>space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,
>or you could design something along the lines of a gauss rifle (which
>uses magnetism and transfer of momentum to speed up an object).
>Though firing any such device (explosive or magnetic) is not the
>brightest idea unless you are tethered to a much more massive object,
>because the transfer of momentum from the firearm into your body will
>blow you backwards... and then, well, off into the vastness of space
>you go :)

<snip>

All powders used in cartridges for firearms produce their own
oxygen. You can even shoot a firearm when it is completely
submerged under water if the primer and powder are well sealed
and the water doesn't seep in. Most modern commercially
manufactured cartridges are waterproof. For scuba divers they
manufacture spear guns designed to fire a special .44 Magnum
blank cartridge as a component of an an explosive warhead for
the spear. They use it for defense against sharks and other mean
denizens of the deep. Cartridges for firearms do not require an
environment where there is oxygen in order to fire.

Sam Heywood
--
NTReader v0.32w(O)/Beta (Registered) in conjunction with Net-Tamer.

J. Del Col

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:21:55 AM6/21/03
to
filg...@myrealbox.com (filgworth) wrote in message news:<bcul1j$c08$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# # Hi,
# # I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
# # Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
# # arm an astronaugt how could you do it
# # Thanks
# # John
# #
# That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
# the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
# (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
# if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
# space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,


Smokeless powder contains it's own oxidizer. It works just fine in a
vacuum.

Black powder works too.

You don't need oxygen to oxidize things. The strongest oxidizer known
is fluorine; it will oxidize oxygen!

The most powerful chemical rocket fuel combination is liquid hydrogen
and liquid fluorine--no oxygen, but it burns like fury. I once
witnessed a very brief test of a small hydrogen/fluorine engine. It
was awesome.

(Of course, handling liquid fluorine is a total nightmare)


J. Del Col

JCKRigby

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:22:50 AM6/21/03
to

"filgworth" wrote in message:


....If inside of
# the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth
will work
# (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it
ignites). Now
# if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the
vacuum of
# space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its
own oxygen,
# or you could design...

<t-minus...snip>

A bit of a conceptual error here. Propellants like
gunpowder and nitrocellulose powders provide all the
components necessary to perform their function except the
initial heat input, which is provided by the primer. In
fact the process for the primer exothermic reaction is also
self contained (except for the mechanical energy required to
drive the components together provided by the firing pin or
striker).

Shooting a gun in space works jut fine. In fact, only
gravitational effects will impede projectile path and
velocity, assuming it does not hit the target or other
object This could come back to bite you later as your
orbital path and the bullet's new path may coincide. This
depends on the initial direction of the round!

JCK

J. Del Col

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:22:59 AM6/21/03
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jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# Hi,
# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
# Navy SEALs had been into space.


Who are they?


J. Del Col

purch2

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:23:04 AM6/21/03
to
This one sounds like a tough nut to crack. Firearms in space
have their severe limitations, recoil and overpenetration being two
bad ones. How about bringing back the GyroJet concept?
Lasers or particle beams are perhaps the better choice for the
above reasons, but I don't believe that a human can carry around
a battery or generator that stores enough juice to power shots
with the lethality easily achieved with currently available firearms.


> ...

Peter Trei

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:23:06 AM6/21/03
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JMStacey wrote:

#Hi,
# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
#Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
#arm an astronaugt how could you do it
#Thanks
#John
#
#
For use in zero-G in open space, the only practical existing firearm
would be
the Gyrojet pistol. They're not made anymore, but they had zero recoil,
firing
tiny .50cal rockets which left the muzzle at only 860 ft/sec, but
continued to
accelerate for some time during flight, reaching very acceptable power
levels
after a few yards. Unfortunately, not very accurate, due to the low inital
velocity

http://www.hwth.com/guns/MBA_Gyrojet.htm is a not-suitable-for-the-office
page about them.

Russian (Soviet) spacecraft include a firearm of some type in their
survival kits (I think a handgun). They land in the wilder zones of
Russia, and at least one crew was menaced by wolves overnight
as they waited to be found.

Peter

Benzzoy

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:23:24 AM6/21/03
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In article <bcul1j$c08$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>,
filg...@myrealbox.com (filgworth) wrote:

# That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of

# the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
# (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
# if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
# space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,

Gunpowder has its own oxidizer so it will work as well in space as on
earth (or even underwater for that matter). If you don't believe me,
just try to imagine how oxygen from the air can get into an essentially
sealed cartridge to facilitate the burning of gunpowder. The fact of
the matter is, one of the reason why gunpowder is so explosive is it
*is* its own oxidizer and fuel.

Haven't we gone through this sometime ago?

Cheers,
Benz

T.Alan Kraus

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:23:46 AM6/21/03
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filgworth wrote in message ...
#jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message
news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
## Hi,
## I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several
US
## Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed
to
## arm an astronaugt how could you do it
## Thanks
## John
##
#That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
#the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
#(since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
#if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
#space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,

Smokeless powder does not need external oxygen. It is all selfcontained!

cheers
T.Alan

Vlad II

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:24:12 AM6/21/03
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#1. Never fire a gun while not attached to something really massive. If
#you do, you might find yourself rotating in a most unpleasent manner, while
#departing from where you were.

While recoil will push you around, the velocies are pretty small. But the
tumbling will screw up your follow up shots.

#2. Never, ever shoot the wall of your vehicle. While the danger of
#"explosive decompression" of aircrafts is a myth, it would probably be
#leathal in a vacuum.

Modern spacecraft are designed to deal with holes. The Mir took some big
holes towards the end of its career. The big deal is that on an airplane
there's always more air to replace that which is lost. In space, you'd be
limited to the size of your reserve tanks. (I suggest wearing a suit and
only starting fights in the other guy's vehicle)

#3. Be aware of local gravitational conditions. I'd hate to shoot at
#someone, miss, and get nailed be my own suborbital bullet 20 minutes later

Yeah, that'd suck.

#Inside, shooting at another vehicle. Speed beets steel. Take the main gun
#from an M1A1, have the computer compensate with thrusters for shots, and
#poke holes. Won't take to many before everyone inside is dead, or the C&C
#center is uninhabitable.

If you don't have a friggin laser this is perfect.

Matt

Vlad II

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:24:07 AM6/21/03
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#That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
#the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
#(since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites).

Smokeless powder doesn't require oxygen to burn. It'll work just fine in
space.

Matt

straight shooter

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:24:22 AM6/21/03
to
The powder in your cartridge has its own oxidizer, otherwise it would
not burn inside your barrel, which remains sealed until the bullet
exits the barrel. So, a conventional firearm or anti-tank rocket will
work in the vacuum of space. Bullet would have slightly increased
velocity and the barrel and other parts would be stressed more,
because of the lack of external air pressure, but not much (like .04%,
less than the shot to shot variation). Temperature extremes and the
possible evaporation of lubricants in the vacuum could effect the
functioning of the firearm.

If fighting in vacuum and not attached to something, your SEALSs (SEa,
Air, Land, Space) would want to be wearing the MMU (Manned Maneuvering
Unit) jet pack, or he would be a sitting duck, and might be able to
use it to compensate--maybe. I would not count on decompression
taking your opponent out instantly--gas can only escape through a
small bullet hole at sonic velocity. Granted, the space suits are
only pressurized to like 5 psi or something (compared to 14.7 in the
shuttle or on Earth), so it won't take as long and the bad guy would
bleed out faster and would have spin induced by the exiting gasses.
However, a determined opponent will still be active enough to do
harm--you will still have to hit right. Also consider opponents will
be wearing space suits with lots of equipment to block a bullet in a
vital area (due to the threats of micrometriods, NASA is also looking
at armored space suits), a .45 ACP might not be a best choice. I know
of no current man-portable energy weapons that I would trust
(although, as other posters note, would be ideal), so limiting
ourselves to conventional weapons my choices are:

Personal defence: USP full size 9mm with LEM trigger loaded with hot
steel core 9mm flat points (better than .45 ACP for penetrating
through marginal armor)with laser/flashlight attached. 9mm is
selected as opposed to .357 sig or more, because I want to minimize
recoil while maximizing the ability to punch through that equipment.
LEM doesn't have a safety to mess with and the USP has a massive
trigger ring to fit those clumsy space suit gloves. Laser because he
is going to need one hand firing the jets on the MMU and will need all
the help he can get.

An Anti-tank rocket would be good (effectively recoiless) for more
serious problems.

Combat weapon from the ground up would be an over the shoulder
multiple rocket laucher with a laser range finder/denonator programmer
like the OICW under development. The open back end of the tube would
make it recoilless and the charge exploding near the target would
produce fragmentation that would not only hurt, but make more holes in
the space suit than you could seal with a stick on patch (which space
infantry would carry).

Perhaps, it would be better to build weapons into the MMU.

This will probably be adequate, as any combat at large distance will
also probably be at large relative velocities and require ship mounted
guided missiles, lasers, rail guns. There are probably current guided
missles that would work for short range. Didn't the Soviets have a
plan to arm MIR, revealed in Popular Science or Mechanics like seven
years ago? Long range may even be a too much for current missles, but
that new laser system developed to shoot down rockets for Israel would
be good.

As a side note, do not underestimate the sturdiness of space
vechicles, especially the shuttle. They don't have to contend with
atmosphere, but they endured massive loads getting up there in the
first place. The shuttle encounters large loads (not just thermal)
during reentry, as poor dear Columbia showed us.

Also, the novel _Footfall_ (was it by Larry Niven?) has some fun stuff
in this regard, as space shuttles are used to attack the alien
mothership and battle ship guns from the Iowa class are mounted on a
new ship. Lots of other, technologically feasible weapons are used.
An astronaut event takes out a space-suited alien with his .45.

TimR

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:24:24 AM6/21/03
to
filg...@myrealbox.com (filgworth) wrote in message news:<bcul1j$c08$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# # Hi,
# # I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
# # Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
# # arm an astronaugt how could you do it
# # Thanks
# # John
# #
# That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
# the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
# (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
# if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
# space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,
# or you could design something along the lines of a gauss rifle (which
# uses magnetism and transfer of momentum to speed up an object).
# Though firing any such device (explosive or magnetic) is not the
# brightest idea unless you are tethered to a much more massive object,
# because the transfer of momentum from the firearm into your body will
# blow you backwards... and then, well, off into the vastness of space
# you go :)
#

snip

I think you are vastly overestimating the effects of recoil.

Firing a weapon in space will accelerate your body backwards at
exactly the same rate as it does on earth, because your mass remains
the same, and F=ma everywhere, regardless of gravity. Momentum is
conserved and your body mass is enormous compared to even the largest
bullet.

If you want to minimize that tiny acceleration, use small high
velocity projectiles instead of slow heavy ones, the reverse of what
is advised on earth, and think placement, placement, placement. Oh, I
guess placement doesn't matter if you pierce a suit. Neither does
expansion or energy, all you need is penetration and the lightest most
controllable projectile. I would choose the Taurus revolver in .17
rimfire.

DrummaKid

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:24:26 AM6/21/03
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jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# Hi,
# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
# Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
# arm an astronaugt how could you do it
# Thanks
# John

Is that to say that SEAL training isn't enough to kill people with? :)

Bigger things have bigger mass, so I suppose you could use traditional
guns mounted on something like a ship. Then again, loads that work on
earth would probably be exceedingly powerful in space, as here we've
all got an atmosphere working against us already. A neat idea would
be to try some sort of modified BB gun type of setup, which could
possibly recoil less if you engineered it to use 'explosive
decompression' to your advantage?(all you science buffs, feel free to
refute that, lord knows I'm in no position to try it out...)

As far as personal weapons, it's a whole new ballgame. An unprotected
human body is something like a sack of blood-- prick it anywhere and
it'll start to leak. In space there is no (or at least very very
little depending on location) gravity, and any holes in an attacker's
immediate 'atmosphere'- that is to say, spacesuit or ship- will cause
a really fast and painful death, so I'm guessing that the temptation
would be to armor oneself all to hell. Laser weapons would probably
be very popular as a result.

Or, are you talking about now, with today's technologies and stuff?
I'd prefer a lighter-loaded .17 HMR. .22LR would probably work pretty
well too, except that I dunno where you could possibly get jacketed
22LR ammo. Primitive bladed weapons would also probably do well
enough, as long as they're sharp and not momentum-based (i.e. an
axe...)

Man, I always do love speculation.
--Jordan

Plink

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:25:13 AM6/21/03
to
On Fri, 20 Jun 2003 09:44:19 +0000 (UTC), filg...@myrealbox.com
(filgworth) wrote:

#jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
## Hi,
## I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
## Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to


## arm an astronaugt how could you do it
## Thanks
## John
##

#That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
#the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
#(since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
#if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
#space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,

Umm, gunpowder provides its own oxygen. It would work fine in space.
Recoil in a zero-g environment is the big issue I think.

Mike

G Hasford

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:25:50 AM6/21/03
to
I remembered reading about a Soviet space craft armed with a cannon, and
did a quick search on Google. I found some articles with the
information.

The Soviet space station Salyut 3 was armed with either a 23mm or 30mm
cannon.There is some disagreement about the actual caliber. The Soviets
used onboard thrusters to counter act the recoil. The gun was supposedly
tested in orbit in January 1975. They claimed to have detroyed a
satellite with the cannon.

Some of the links are:
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salyut
http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/spaceguns/

captain obvious

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:25:52 AM6/21/03
to
I believe the Soviets armed one of their Salyut space stations with a rather
large pnumatic gun, the Almaz Salyut 2, if I can recall correctly

JMStacey <jmst...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu...

> ...
US
> ...
to
> ...

Tim Kroesen

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:26:13 AM6/21/03
to
umm... the propellant by composition provides its own Oxygen for
combustion... In fact why a cartridge will fire under water too; or in
a vacuum for that mater.

TK

"filgworth" <filg...@myrealbox.com> wrote in message
news:bcul1j$c08$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu...


# That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of

# the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
# (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
# if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
# space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,
# or you could design something along the lines of a gauss rifle (which
# uses magnetism and transfer of momentum to speed up an object).

Dick

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:26:29 AM6/21/03
to

# That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of

# the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
# (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
# if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
# space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,

No Oxygen is needed - The powder has its' own supply built in!!!!

Jim

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:27:13 AM6/21/03
to

JMStacey wrote:
... For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
# arm an astronaugt how could you do it


A Taser. Or if the purp was in an EV spacewalk just hold up a picture of
a flea. Drive 'em nuts!

Jim

David Steuber

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Jun 21, 2003, 7:27:43 AM6/21/03
to
jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) writes:

# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US

# Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to


# arm an astronaugt how could you do it

In the movie "Armageddon", there was a pistol kept in a small safe.
It looked like an HK P7M8 to me.

In Babylon-5, the PPG was specificly designed for use in a space
station. No hint on the manufacturer was given, or how many shots per
"cap" were available.

--
One Editor to rule them all. One Editor to find them,
One Editor to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

(do ((a 1 b) (b 1 (+ a b))) (nil a) (print a))

Joseph Lovell

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:16:10 AM6/22/03
to

filgworth wrote:

#jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
## Hi,
## I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
## Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
## arm an astronaugt how could you do it
## Thanks
## John
##

#That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
#the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
#(since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
#if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
#space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,
#
#
Um, I sort of hate to point out the obvious, but gunpowders contain
their own oxidezers in the chemical mix. Even black powder does - that
is the job of the potassium nitrate.

Joseph Lovell

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:16:08 AM6/22/03
to

PapaBear wrote:

#With a Colt phaser of course, duhhh!
#
#
A 2911 Government?

Joseph Lovell

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:16:16 AM6/22/03
to

JCKRigby wrote:

#Shooting a gun in space works jut fine. In fact, only
#gravitational effects will impede projectile path and
#velocity, assuming it does not hit the target or other
#object This could come back to bite you later as your
#orbital path and the bullet's new path may coincide. This
#depends on the initial direction of the round!
#
#JCK
#
#
There is one sci/fi short story, written in the late '50s or early 60s
and I don't remember the author, about a peace commissioner that visits
the US base on the moon to find out how the Americans and the Soviets
manage ot keep from skirmishing there when everywhere else the do.
While he is talking with the base CO a chime sounds. The CO clears off
his desk, lies down on the floor and tells the commissioner to do the
same. Soon the room has all sorts of stuff coming through the wall and
pretty much tearing stuff up. After the hoorah, the CO gets up, a bunch
of people come in and start throwing patches on the wall, and the
commissioner sees that it is covered with patches.
Turns out that things were not always peaceful. The rounds that missed
went into a low orbit, which every once in a while coincides with the
base. All their computing time is spent trying to figure out the orbits
of the bullets. But don't worry, the CO has men secretly building a
wall out behind the base, out of sight of the soviets. Better get down,
time for the second volly.

Guy N. LaFrance

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:16:41 AM6/22/03
to
SNIP
#
# Also, the novel _Footfall_ (was it by Larry Niven?) has some fun stuff
# in this regard, as space shuttles are used to attack the alien
# mothership and battle ship guns from the Iowa class are mounted on a
# new ship. Lots of other, technologically feasible weapons are used.
# An astronaut event takes out a space-suited alien with his .45.
#
Yes, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote it. Great story. Lots of the
"hard" science that I love in SF. The aliens are like baby elephants with
many-branched trunks that they use as hands and fingers ("Clasp digits with
me, that I may know your tribe"). They have a huge mother ship with
fighters, and in the final battle the humans get an Orion *off the ground*
by exploding nukes under it! It's huge too and is largely steam-powered -
talk about low tech. It launches 16 inch naval rifles with a two-man crew
section and auto-loading gear that use their own recoil for propulsion. The
Orion also launches special nuke missiles that spray X-rays at the alien
fighters. The shuttle kamikazes into the mother ship and the humans win by
convincing the aliens that the Orion will also hit them and wipe them out
unless they surrender.

jfi...@webtv.net

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:17:26 AM6/22/03
to
Sammy and Sarah Seal. They were sent up by the Navy to see if a seal's
efficient swimming motions would propel them in a zero g environment.

J. Del Col asked "Who are They"

MCheu

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:18:01 AM6/22/03
to
"Ronald Bloom" <rbl...@sysr.com> wrote in message news:<bd1f3e$geu$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# # Hi,
# # I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that
# several US
# # Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you
# needed to
# # arm an astronaugt how could you do it
#
# A SIG P226 will work in space, but as with Newton's law, the bullet will
# continue in motion and remain in motion until acted upon by an outside
# force, so it could travel through space forever.
#

Seems to me that you'd need something modified, or perhaps designed
with cold weather fighting in mind. The reason being that every space
suit I've seen in the media (the Star Trek suits don't count) have
gloves with really huge fingers. I doubt you could get your trigger
finger past the trigger guard.

Lynn K. Circle

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:18:53 AM6/22/03
to
jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# Hi,
# I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
# Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to

# arm an astronaugt how could you do it
# Thanks
# John
#
Well, Papa Heinlein had a crew carry M1-Garands in one of his earlier
books (Red Planet Mars???). However, I would think that for actual
use in space, there'd be a few requirements which shouldn't be beyond
today's technology:

1) Recoiless. I would expect there to be some sort of gas containment
system which would also work to dampen recoil.

2) At least the choice of a non-penetrating projectile. If someone
isn't armored, a beanbag projectile would quite possible put him down
for the count, especially if hit on the upper left chest.

Lynn Circle

Samuel W. Heywood

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 8:19:27 AM6/22/03
to


On Sat, 21 Jun 2003 11:23:04 +0000 (UTC) aaron_...@hotmail.com (purch2)
wrote:

>This one sounds like a tough nut to crack. Firearms in space
>have their severe limitations, recoil and overpenetration being two
>bad ones.

Newton's third law of motion still applies in space as it does
on earth. Newton's third law of motion is the law of physics
which governs recoil: "For every action there is an equal and
opposite reaction". It doesn't matter whether the action happens
on earth or in space.

The only apparent exceptions to the laws of Newtonian physics are
theorized to occur to an observable degree as velocities approach
the astronomical speed of light, and it depends on the position of
the observer relative to the objects in motion. See Einstein, et
all, and e equals mc squared, and other light and entertaining
reading material on the most fascinating subject of the special and
general theories of relativity.

Penetration of objects by bullets fired in space would theoretically
be the same as penetration of the same kinds of objects by bullets
fired in a vacuum on earth, all other factors such as velocity
relative to the target and temperatures of the bullets and targets
being equal.

Sam Heywood
--
NTReader v0.32w(O)/Beta (Registered) in conjunction with Net-Tamer.

filgworth

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Jun 22, 2003, 8:19:44 AM6/22/03
to
"JCKRigby" <jckel...@attbi.com> wrote in message news:<bd1f6a$gha$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# "filgworth" wrote in message:
#
#
# ....If inside of
# # the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth
# will work
# # (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it
# ignites). Now
# # if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the
# vacuum of
# # space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its
# own oxygen,
# # or you could design...
#
# <t-minus...snip>
#
# A bit of a conceptual error here. Propellants like
# gunpowder and nitrocellulose powders provide all the
# components necessary to perform their function except the
# initial heat input, which is provided by the primer. In
# fact the process for the primer exothermic reaction is also
# self contained (except for the mechanical energy required to
# drive the components together provided by the firing pin or
# striker).

Ah, right indeed. That's what I get for rambling off after a 12 hour
workday. I should have put two-and-two together myself since a
cartridge can be fired underwater... at least enough corrections got
posted that my error won't confuse anyone else on this ng.

purch2

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Jun 22, 2003, 8:19:09 AM6/22/03
to
# In the movie "Armageddon", there was a pistol kept in a small safe.
# It looked like an HK P7M8 to me.


Hmmm... just mentioning the name of that film makes my lunch
start to rise from the bottom of my stomach.

I was actually going to mention something another poster did -
the shotguns kept for fending off wolves.

Does anyone know if that was policy for the Soviet program or
for the Russian space program? It's my understanding that when the
Soviet Union became Russia and the CIS, gun regs were loosened up a
bit.

Interesting that the Russians still use land recovery for their
spacecraft.
That's a holdover from the Cold War days when they were afraid of
their
cosmonauts being grabbed by our guys. Probably figured we wouldn't go
that far inland to grab their flyboys.

How about shotguns for combat within a spacecraft or space station?
The movie Outland shows them being used. OK, Outland isn't a hallmark
of scientific accuracy, but it is a pretty good film.

Omer K

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 7:03:48 PM6/22/03
to

Lynn K. Circle wrote:
# jmst...@aol.com (JMStacey) wrote in message news:<bctgu5$t7i$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
# # Hi,
# # I was reading somewhere that before the Columbia disaster that several US
# # Navy SEALs had been into space. For the sake of discussion IF you needed to
# # arm an astronaugt how could you do it
# # Thanks
# # John
# #

# Well, Papa Heinlein had a crew carry M1-Garands in one of his earlier

# books (Red Planet Mars???). However, I would think that for actual
# use in space, there'd be a few requirements which shouldn't be beyond
# today's technology:
#
# 1) Recoiless. I would expect there to be some sort of gas containment
# system which would also work to dampen recoil.
#
good point. I would think a Dart gun would do this wonderfully, or even
a pellet gun. Since there's no resistance, the 1200 fps produced by
some airguns wouldn't loose velocity until it hit the target.

# 2) At least the choice of a non-penetrating projectile. If someone
# isn't armored, a beanbag projectile would quite possible put him down
# for the count, especially if hit on the upper left chest.

Of course, darts have sharp points so all they'll have to do is pierce a
hole in the suit and the blood pressure and air pressure inside will do
the rest. The person would literally EXPLODE.


Omer K

Dwight Gruber

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 7:05:17 PM6/22/03
to
Ah yes, Babylon-5. The PPG was imagined as an expanding-plasma weapon,
designed to affect human targets by the extreme heat of the plasma and the
knock-down force of expanding gas pressure, while having minimal effect on
physical structures--no penetrating element.

http://www.b5tech.com/misctech/weapons/handheldweapons/ppgpistol.html

I recall reading a story when I was young--I think it was one of those
"juvenile" sf stories--in which handguns were used as reaction-sources for
astronauts to move around in space. It was never made explicit whether or
notthey used blanks or regular rounds, and it always seemed to me to be
rather impractical and ill considered. Actually I think it was a Heinlein
story, surprising that he would not consider the problems.

--DwightG


"David Steuber" <david....@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:bd1fff$gqt$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu...
> ...
several US
> ...
needed to
> ...

gruhn

unread,
Jun 22, 2003, 7:06:15 PM6/22/03
to
# Um, I sort of hate to point out the obvious, but gunpowders contain
# their own oxidezers in the chemical mix

Think of all the expanding gasses pushing the bullet, the tiny enclosed
space. Now somehow fresh air has to rush in in high enough volume to feed
the continuing burn? No, much better to put the oxy in the fuel.

JL

unread,
Jun 23, 2003, 4:19:49 PM6/23/03
to
Bullet drop, or lack there of, could be an interesting factor. Also, the
lack of velocity loss means that terminal ballistics are almost the same
as muzzle ballistics (minus the effect of any large gravity wells the
bullets passes on its journey).

TimR

unread,
Jun 23, 2003, 4:22:56 PM6/23/03
to
Some interesting speculation.

On reflection, most people are overestimating the effects of recoil
and rapid incapacitation from a suit hole.

Zero gravity doesn't mean zero mass. It still takes the same force to
accelerate your 180 pounds plus whatever your suit weighs (masses,
actually) that it does on earth. There isn't any atmosphere to slow
you down, but at the speeds we're talking it isn't important. Firing
a handgun isn't going to send you rocketing across the room. If you
want to test this theory, sit in a swing and shoot your collection.
You will see you don't go flying back out of control. I'll bet you
don't move an inch with a .45ACP, and you can shoot .22 short out of
an Olympic rapid fire all day without moving; come to think of it if
you could be sure of functioning that .22 short might not be bad.

I also don't think a body is going to explode with a hole in it. You
are only reducing the pressure surrounding you by 14.7 pounds per
square inch. That's not that much. What I suspect will happen is
suits will be built self-sealing, and even if not I think tissue would
tend to protrude enough to seal a small hole.

Other considerations. Trajectory. You won't have to worry as much
about drop, so sighting in is less tricky, you probably want a
collimator sight like a reddot, as low and coaxial with the bore as
possible. Function. You aren't going to clear a stovepipe with suit
gloves, and you don't want to limpwrist it, so I think you go with a
revolver. Either you have a guardless trigger like in coldweather
gear, or you use a doubleaction only with squeezecocking setup. If
you're really worried about recoil, you need a speedloader. Dump your
six shots forward, turn around and fire six the other way and you've
canceled out.

Tiger

unread,
Jun 23, 2003, 4:24:25 PM6/23/03
to
JMStacey wrote:

> ...

What in wide, wide world of sports????? Is this Mail Call or something?

First, SEALS in space?? Most astronauts tend to be military pilots or scientist
types. Very little need for rubber boat driving commando skills here.
Second, What are you shooting at????? HAL 9000 gone mad again??

Third, Physics...... Remember in school little things like gravity, and
Newton's laws of motion, etc. Without gravity the bullet would not fall as a
parabolic curve, so it would travel in a straight line. The recoil would propel
the shooter off his feet (for every action there is an equal and opposite
reaction) causing an accuracy problem.

Fourth, they don't cary Hoppe's # 9 on the moon.................

Tiger

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Jun 23, 2003, 4:24:32 PM6/23/03
to
JMStacey wrote:

> ...

If have to arm your self in space, use a light saber!

Tiger

unread,
Jun 23, 2003, 4:24:36 PM6/23/03
to
"Samuel W. Heywood" wrote:

> ...

Ah, but space is a vacum, no air resistance to deal with. So it should have
greater pentatration.

Louis Boyd

unread,
Jun 23, 2003, 7:36:29 PM6/23/03
to
filgworth wrote:
#

# That all depends on where the astronaut is going to be. If inside of
# the shuttle/spacestation, then any gun that works on earth will work
# (since there will be oxygen to feed the powder when it ignites). Now
# if you are arming an astronaut that is outside, in the vacuum of
# space, you will either need a cartridge that provides its own oxygen,
# or you could design something along the lines of a gauss rifle (which
# uses magnetism and transfer of momentum to speed up an object).
# Though firing any such device (explosive or magnetic) is not the
# brightest idea unless you are tethered to a much more massive object,
# because the transfer of momentum from the firearm into your body will
# blow you backwards... and then, well, off into the vastness of space
# you go :)


A conventional cartridge does not rely on the gas trapped withing the
cartridge for proper operation. Smokeless powder deflagrates and does
not rely on a separate oxidizing gas. Both the primer and propellant
will operate correctly in a vacuum even if the cartridge isn't
hermiticly tight. A conventional firearm will fire and cycle properly
in space even in a vacuum.

The only notiable difference would be that a bullet in space would
retain it's kinetic energy for an extremely long distance. It's
accuracy (shot to shot variation) would also be improved a little
because of the lack of aerodynamic effects. Smootbore firearms would be
as accurate as rifled guns as spin stabilization does nothing in a
vacuum except possibly to make the bullet arrive point first. It doesn't
change the accuracy. Bullets would follow an elliptical trajectory
with one focus at the center of the earth. For a hundred yards or so
the ballistics would not be noticably different from shooting on earth.

As to recoil it's simply conservation of momentum. If a 195 lb
astronaut with a 5 lb gun shoots a .45 ACP 240 gn bullet at 1000 feet
per second he'll gain about 2 inches/second rearward velocity per
shot. With a lot of shot's that might be a problem but not likely.

Laser weapons certainly would work better in space than on Earth through
the atmosphere, but they still haven't been built into a convenient
package like a pistol with enough power to penetrate the hull of a ship.
A conventional firearm modified to allow holding, sighting, and firing
while wearing a space suite is no doubt the most effective individual
weapon presently available.

--
Lou Boyd

Rigger

unread,
Jun 23, 2003, 7:36:50 PM6/23/03
to
In article <bd7nm0$sn8$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>, Tiger
<Lana_...@hotmail.com> wrote:

# If have to arm your self in space, use a light saber!


Naah.... Rail gun.

--
Dave Vick
NRA, MCRGO
Tank: "Okay; whaddya need... Besides a miracle?"
Neo: "Guns... Lots of guns."

Joseph Lovell

unread,
Jun 24, 2003, 8:43:54 AM6/24/03
to

Tiger wrote:

#JMStacey wrote:
#
# > ...
#
#If have to arm your self in space, use a light saber!
#
#
#
A rapier would be more.... Oh! You make little joke! Sorry, sorry.

Joseph Lovell

unread,
Jun 24, 2003, 8:43:58 AM6/24/03
to

Rigger wrote:

#In article <bd7nm0$sn8$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>, Tiger
#<Lana_...@hotmail.com> wrote:
#
## If have to arm your self in space, use a light saber!
#
#
#Naah.... Rail gun.
#
Like those big suckers the Germans made in WWII? THAT will recoil like
a s.o.b!

Brian Nolen

unread,
Jun 24, 2003, 8:45:00 AM6/24/03
to

"Louis Boyd" <bo...@apt0.sao.arizona.edu> wrote in message
# A conventional firearm modified to allow holding, sighting, and firing
# while wearing a space suite is no doubt the most effective individual
# weapon presently available.
#
# --
# Lou Boyd
#

A Calico style firearm set up with a vambrace forearm mount, helical feed
magazine with a solinoid switch to activate the trigger, or mounted to a
breastplate, firing over the shoulder or helmet, with a targeting HUD.
Probably doable now if there was reason to do so. Would be fairly compact
as far as protrusions go if not overall length.

Brian Nolen

nataS

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Jun 24, 2003, 8:46:25 AM6/24/03
to
"Rigger" <rig...@tds.net> wrote in message
news:bd82ui$4ar$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu...
#
# Naah.... Rail gun.

Still off the mark... point singularity projector

gruhn

unread,
Jun 25, 2003, 7:18:53 AM6/25/03
to
# Most astronauts tend to be military pilots or scientist
# types. Very little need for rubber boat driving commando skills here.

The question isn't whether the space people need the SEALS, it's whether the
SEALS need the space time.

# Second, What are you shooting at????? HAL 9000 gone mad again??

Cosmonauts. Space ants. Hinton always was a little wierd; never figured how
he got past the screening. Just for the curiousity.

# Without gravity the bullet would not fall as a
# parabolic curve, so it would travel in a straight line.

Is your local frame of reference inertial? (Hint, anything in orbit : Yes.)
How does that compare w/ the motion of your projectile? Are you doing spin
imparted "gravity"? How does that compare w/ the motion of your projectile?

# The recoil would propel the shooter off his feet

Does this happen to you at the range? It will be worse w/o the bit of
friction gravity gives your feet, but it won't be the movies.

Samuel W. Heywood

unread,
Jun 25, 2003, 7:19:41 AM6/25/03
to


On Mon, 23 Jun 2003 20:24:36 +0000 (UTC) Tiger <Lana_...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>"Samuel W. Heywood" wrote:

>> ...

>Ah, but space is a vacum, no air resistance to deal with. So it should
>have
>greater pentatration.

I had said something to the effect of "all other factors being equal",
and I had listed amomg various considerations the velocities of the
bullets relative to their targets. Of course I am aware that a bullet
shot in a vacuum will not lose velocity due to air resistance.

Sam Heywood
--
NTReader v0.32w(O)/Beta (Registered) in conjunction with Net-Tamer.

Samuel W. Heywood

unread,
Jun 25, 2003, 7:21:31 AM6/25/03
to


On Mon, 23 Jun 2003 20:24:32 +0000 (UTC) Tiger <Lana_...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>JMStacey wrote:

>> ...

>If have to arm your self in space, use a light saber!

Why not use a heavy one?

Sam Heywood
--
NTReader v0.32w(O)/Beta (Registered) in conjunction with Net-Tamer.

Prigator

unread,
Jun 25, 2003, 9:24:13 PM6/25/03
to
"gruhn" said:

## The recoil would propel the shooter off his feet
#
#Does this happen to you at the range? It will be worse w/o the bit of
#friction gravity gives your feet, but it won't be the movies.

If you are talking about an astronaut doing EVA in free fall, firing a pistol
at eye level would would send him into a backward somersault. A .44 Magnum
would flip him faster than a .22. This is not the movies, but the Hollywood
crowd aren't smart enough to figure out reality.

#Is your local frame of reference inertial? (Hint, anything in orbit : Yes.)
#How does that compare w/ the motion of your projectile? Are you doing spin
#imparted "gravity"? How does that compare w/ the motion of your projectile?

In the vacuum of space, no air resistance, the bullet would have unlimited
range. If you could hit a target 100 miles away, the slug would arrive at
muzzle velocity. And with no gravity the bullet path would be a straight line
in the "frame of reference" between shooter and target. Never mind "inertial"
or "imparted" or sunspots or the orbit of Jupiter.

Doug Chandler

TimR

unread,
Jun 25, 2003, 9:24:18 PM6/25/03
to
Joseph Lovell <sub...@sonic.net> wrote in message news:<bd9h2a$kt8$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...
> ...

Here's the definitive answer. I have watched "Aliens" an
embarassingly large number of times, but not recently. Let me see if
I can quote from memory the scene where the squad of space Marines are
searching for the mission colonists under the heat exchangers.
Ripley: "Captain, what do those rifles fire?" Obligatory ineffectual
desk warrior type captain: "Standard 10 mm caseless, explosive tip
armor piercing." Well, they fire those things full auto constantly
and don't have a problem with recoil. Granted part of the time they
are on the planet surface, but hey, they carry them in space, they
gotta be able to shoot them there.


Now I've got to dig out my Aliens tape and see how close I got the
wording.

Anybody who thinks the recoil of a personal weapon will send you
flying just because you are in space is seriously physics challenged,
and probably believes those movie scenes where getting shot blows the
bad guy through the air and out the window.

There is no way beam weapons can come close to the energy storage
density of chemicals. You will never see man portable ray guns, they
just don't make sense.

Tony

unread,
Jun 25, 2003, 9:24:24 PM6/25/03
to
Tiger <Lana_...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<bd7nlp$sjo$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>...

# JMStacey wrote:
#
# > ...
#
# What in wide, wide world of sports????? Is this Mail Call or something?
#
<snip>
# Third, Physics...... Remember in school little things like gravity, and
# Newton's laws of motion, etc. Without gravity the bullet would not fall as a
# parabolic curve, so it would travel in a straight line. The recoil would propel
# the shooter off his feet (for every action there is an equal and opposite
# reaction) causing an accuracy problem.
<snip>

You guys take recoil way to seriously. Get a 12 Ga., or maybe
a 375 H&H Magnum, if you like. You have mucho firepower, and
you attack *and* retreat At The Same Time!!!

Cheers,
Tony

Frederick J. Barnett

unread,
Jun 25, 2003, 9:27:13 PM6/25/03
to
Question: I thought I read some years ago that the Apollo 11
astronauts carried a pistol with them to the Moon? It was a "just in
case" scenario. I tried searching on the internet for info, but
couldn't find anything. Am I mistaken?


Frederick J. Barnett http://www.eatel.net/~fred/
"Someone's got to take the responsibility if the job's going to get done!! Do you think that's easy?!" Gregory Peck - The Guns Of Navarone

Rigger

unread,
Jun 26, 2003, 8:18:23 AM6/26/03
to
In article <bddhvt$hbc$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu>, Prigator
<prig...@aol.com> wrote:

# In the vacuum of space, no air resistance, the bullet would have unlimited
# range. If you could hit a target 100 miles away, the slug would arrive at
# muzzle velocity.


Not really...

Space is not a perfectly empty vacuum, it's full of dust; the bullet
will be hitting the occasional dust particle in its travels.

It may not slow down as fast as it does in Earth's atmosphere, but it
will indeed slow down.

--
rigger-at-tds-dot-net
IATSE#274, DoD#2117, ACGwB#5, NGI#666, BMoZ#[classified]

-----------------------------------------------------------

nataS

unread,
Jun 26, 2003, 8:19:14 AM6/26/03
to
<