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Jim Carr

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Oct 4, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/4/99
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While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:

" Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
practicable military application in the foreseeable future.
They said, however, that study of such satellites could
provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen
bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "

Sweet, eh?

--
James A. Carr <j...@scri.fsu.edu> | Commercial e-mail is _NOT_
http://www.scri.fsu.edu/~jac/ | desired to this or any address
Supercomputer Computations Res. Inst. | that resolves to my account
Florida State, Tallahassee FL 32306 | for any reason at any time.

Joe Fischer

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Oct 4, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/4/99
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Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:
: While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
: their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
: Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
: the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:
:
: " Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
: practicable military application in the foreseeable future.

Sputnik was about the size of a softball,
and beeped, not really a lethal weapon. :-)

: They said, however, that study of such satellites could


: provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
: studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

And a complete Atlas rocket was already assembled,
and the whole thing, except for the half stage, could have
been placed in LEO anytime.

: The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen


: bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
: could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
: aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "
:
: Sweet, eh?

Pretty accurate appraisal, it was 1957. Without
CCD imaging, it would essentially all still be true. :-)

Joe Fischer

MILKY WAY

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Oct 4, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/4/99
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LOL


Michael Kagalenko

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Joe Fischer (joe...@iglou.com) wrote
]Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:
]: While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
]: their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
]: Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
]: the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:
]:
]: " Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
]: practicable military application in the foreseeable future.
]
] Sputnik was about the size of a softball,
]and beeped, not really a lethal weapon. :-)

Sputnik was launched on the rocket that was slightly modified ICBM.

]: They said, however, that study of such satellites could


]: provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
]: studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
]
] And a complete Atlas rocket was already assembled,
]and the whole thing, except for the half stage, could have
]been placed in LEO anytime.

Could have been, but wasn't.

]: The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen


]: bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
]: could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
]: aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "
]:
]: Sweet, eh?
]
] Pretty accurate appraisal, it was 1957. Without
]CCD imaging, it would essentially all still be true. :-)

No, it wouldn't. Look up "Corona" at www.fas.org .


Harry H Conover

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:
:
: While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
: their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
: Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
: the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:
:
: " Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
: practicable military application in the foreseeable future.
: They said, however, that study of such satellites could
: provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
: studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
:
: The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen
: bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
: could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
: aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "
:
: Sweet, eh?

Jim, you and I both are aware that there is a legitimate need not to
tell the public everything. Given the absolute horror and shock
reaction that Sputnik created in the scientific and defense sectors,
I can only imagine the public outcry and panic that would have erupted
in the public sector if the total potential impact of this even had
been surfaced. (At the time I was still a student, but had close friends
working as co-op students on our Vanguard program at the time. It was
absolute chaos for those on the inside.)

By the time of Sputnik, the American public was already in a frenzy of
fear as a result of the cold war, and a nuclear attack without warning
seemed a very real possibility. Objective, uncensored reports about the
true significance of Sputnik and the potential for Russian space
superiority would have driven many Americans over the edge.

Recall that at the time, most of our citizens were still barely recovered
from the trauma of WWII when they were suddenly thrust into the Cold War
era, backyard bomb shelters, gas masks, geiger counters, and survival
supplies. Popular discussions centered on what action is approprate
if you neighbors try to invade your fall-out shelter, and if it was
morally justifiable to shoot them if they did! Even as school children,
schools held nearly weekly "duck and cover" drills, and monthly screened
films showing the effects of a nuclear attack.

So, under the circumstances, would you think it advisable to inform the
public that with Sputnik, the Russians had (at least for the moment)
space superiority and the full dimension of military possibilities that
this opened?

I totally oppose censorship of just about every type, but I recognize
that there are (hopefully temporary) periods where it is needed in
limited areas of information.

Harry C.


David Hatunen

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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In article <7tber3$m8k$1...@news.fsu.edu>,

Jim Carr <j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu> wrote:
>
> While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
> their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
> Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
> the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:
>
> " Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
> practicable military application in the foreseeable future.
> They said, however, that study of such satellites could
> provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
> studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
>
> The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen
> bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said.
> Nor could they be used in connection with the proposed plan
> for aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "
>
> Sweet, eh?

What did you expect them to say? Run Henny Penny, the sky is
falling in, the Russians might be able to orbit a bomb in a few
years?

I wonder who these military experts were.


>
>--
> James A. Carr <j...@scri.fsu.edu> | Commercial e-mail is _NOT_
> http://www.scri.fsu.edu/~jac/ | desired to this or any address
> Supercomputer Computations Res. Inst. | that resolves to my account
> Florida State, Tallahassee FL 32306 | for any reason at any time.


--
********** DAVE HATUNEN (hat...@sonic.net) ***********
* Daly City California *
******* My typos are intentional copyright traps ******

Edward Green

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Jim Carr <j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu> wrote:

> While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
> their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
> Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
> the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:
>
> " Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
> practicable military application in the foreseeable future.
> They said, however, that study of such satellites could
> provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
> studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
>
> The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen
> bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
> could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
> aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "

I don't know. Were microelectronics "foreseeable" in 1957? Without
them, the surveillance functions were certainly unforeseeable. And,
for whatever reason, the function of orbital bombardment has never
been developed. So, not particularly farsighted, but not, I think,
up there with the "no foreseeable use for rockets" editorial following
Goddard's work.

The ballistic missile comment was, sadly, right on.


Edward Green

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Harry H Conover <con...@tiac.net> wrote:

>Jim, you and I both are aware that there is a legitimate need not to
>tell the public everything. Given the absolute horror and shock
>reaction that Sputnik created in the scientific and defense sectors,
>I can only imagine the public outcry and panic that would have erupted
>in the public sector if the total potential impact of this even had

>been surfaced. <...>

Yet oddly, what should have been the most disturbing implication, that
practical ICBM's were not far behind, was made. So where is the
whitewash?

David Hatunen

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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In article <37f9...@news.iglou.com>, Joe Fischer <joe...@iglou.com> wrote:
>Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:

>: The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen


>: bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said.
>: Nor could they be used in connection with the proposed plan
>: for aerial inspection of military forces around the world.

>: "
>:


>: Sweet, eh?
>
>Pretty accurate appraisal, it was 1957. Without CCD imaging, it
>would essentially all still be true. :-)

You must not be aware of the soon used satellite photos taken on
film, then ejected over the Pacific and caught by special
aircraft. Satellites were being used for aerial inspection within a
few years of Sputnik.

Harry H Conover

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Edward Green (e...@panix.com) wrote:
: Jim Carr <j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu> wrote:
:
:
: I don't know. Were microelectronics "foreseeable" in 1957? Without

: them, the surveillance functions were certainly unforeseeable.

Early orbital surveillance functions didn't require microelectronics.
In fact, the earliest "R" and "K" series orbital surveillance systems
were almost entirely electromechanical in functioning, and sent
re-entry packages of actually photographic film back to Earth. In fact,
by around 1966, we had already orbited the moon with a miniature version
of one of these (Lunar Orbiter) which while considerably smaller, used
on-board developed film, and scanned the results using a "flying-spot
scanner" for transmission of the images back to Earth. (Not as good
resolution as returning the actual film, but who wants to return
actual film all the way from the moon?")

Even logic functions were implemented with magnetic latching relays
driven my a minimal amount of power hungry electronics. Also, the film
imaging technique they used is unsurpassed for detailed surveillance
through even today.

These systems were deployed and fully operational within just a few years
after Sputnik.
Harry C.


Edward Green

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Harry H Conover <con...@tiac.net> wrote:

<...>

>These systems were deployed and fully operational within just a few years
>after Sputnik.

I stand corrected.

Harry H Conover

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Edward Green (e...@panix.com) wrote:
: Harry H Conover <con...@tiac.net> wrote:
:
: >Jim, you and I both are aware that there is a legitimate need not to

Orbiting surveillance, orbiting MIRV bomb platforms, global communications
capabilities, just to name a few things that might have disturbed the
public just a bit. Just the notion of many nuclear devices in perpetual
orbit and ready to rain down on every major U.S. target awaiting only
a radio signal from Moscow? (Scares the Hell out of me even today.)

Realize that today's public, the vast majority of which have never been
exposed to orchestrated warfare, would not respond to such threats as
did people in the 1950's, many of whom had direct personal experience
with this horror. Indeed, how many readers of this newsgroup were even
alive during man's last experience with this level of systematic destruction
(1945)?

Today, the most terrifying thought for me is that since there has not
been a major global war in over 50 years, a majority of those alive
today have only read about such things. Now you can learn a great
deal about something by reading, but you can never share the essence
of the first hand experience, which in this case is coming face to
face with absolute terror. I beleive that this is why we haven't
seen a major war in over 50-years, but now this situation is changing.
The cowboys, lunatics, and greedy are once again starting to seize power,
and once again history is likely to repeat. This, for me, is far more
terrifying than any horror that science can possibly dish out!

Harry C.


Harry H Conover

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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David Hatunen (hat...@bolt.sonic.net) wrote:

: In article <37f9...@news.iglou.com>, Joe Fischer <joe...@iglou.com> wrote:
: >Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:
:
: >: The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen
: >: bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said.
: >: Nor could they be used in connection with the proposed plan
: >: for aerial inspection of military forces around the world.
: >: "
: >:
: >: Sweet, eh?
: >
: >Pretty accurate appraisal, it was 1957. Without CCD imaging, it
: >would essentially all still be true. :-)
:
: You must not be aware of the soon used satellite photos taken on
: film, then ejected over the Pacific and caught by special
: aircraft. Satellites were being used for aerial inspection within a
: few years of Sputnik.

Yep, I worked on two of these big guys when first out of college.

Orbital film systems are still available for use in "special situations"
where only their unrivaled resolution will satisfy the mission needs.

For example, research the KH-11's ancestry.

Harry C.

Russell Crook

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Harry H Conover wrote:
>
> Edward Green (e...@panix.com) wrote:
> : Harry H Conover <con...@tiac.net> wrote:
> :
> : >Jim, you and I both are aware that there is a legitimate need not to
> : >tell the public everything. Given the absolute horror and shock
> : >reaction that Sputnik created in the scientific and defense sectors,
> : >I can only imagine the public outcry and panic that would have erupted
> : >in the public sector if the total potential impact of this even had
> : >been surfaced. <...>
> :
> : Yet oddly, what should have been the most disturbing implication, that
> : practical ICBM's were not far behind, was made. So where is the
> : whitewash?
>
> Orbiting surveillance, orbiting MIRV bomb platforms, global communications
> capabilities, just to name a few things that might have disturbed the
> public just a bit. Just the notion of many nuclear devices in perpetual
> orbit and ready to rain down on every major U.S. target awaiting only
> a radio signal from Moscow? (Scares the Hell out of me even today.)

"Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."

It may well have been that the military of the time simply didn't
understand the strategic value of these to be developed capabilities.
(the phrase "generals fighting the last war" comes to mind).
If it was that obvious, I would have expected far more work on
developing rockets, etc. in the pre-Sputnik era.

But they *did* understand missiles ...

(Also, don't forget that much of the information value of space
wouldn't be apparent until intergrated circuits came into
existence later. Trying imagining building intelligence satellites
using only vacuum tubes and point-contact transistors for
processing :->).

>
> Realize that today's public, the vast majority of which have never been
> exposed to orchestrated warfare, would not respond to such threats as
> did people in the 1950's, many of whom had direct personal experience
> with this horror. Indeed, how many readers of this newsgroup were even
> alive during man's last experience with this level of systematic destruction
> (1945)?

Not me. I'd posit that the vast majority (in this case, vast > 80%)
fall into this class, and even higher if you only want to count
those old enough to understand being affected at the time.

>
> Today, the most terrifying thought for me is that since there has not
> been a major global war in over 50 years, a majority of those alive
> today have only read about such things. Now you can learn a great
> deal about something by reading, but you can never share the essence
> of the first hand experience, which in this case is coming face to
> face with absolute terror. I beleive that this is why we haven't
> seen a major war in over 50-years, but now this situation is changing.
> The cowboys, lunatics, and greedy are once again starting to seize power,
> and once again history is likely to repeat. This, for me, is far more
> terrifying than any horror that science can possibly dish out!
>
> Harry C.

Although I agree with your concern, I think that that the premise
is badly flawed. Consider that we had WWII start just 21 years
after WWI, which was a much more horrible war than WWII (much
higher casualty rate, insanely stupid generals, poison gas,
waste laid to large tracts of France and Germany, and so on).
Didn't stop the next war at all; all that was needed was a
cost/benefit perception.

The only constraint on the cowboys, etc. is (a) whether they
might get personally hurt, and (b) persuasiveness of the
cost/benefit ("it'll only cost 50,000 lives, and then we get
to conquer Grenada" type of reasoning). Past damage to the populace
is at most an indirect concern, in that it lessens the chance
of getting the resources to wage war. Consider, for example,
that General Westmoreland seriously advocated nuclear bombing
of North Vietnam; he didn't think it would provoke nuclear
retaliation, so it was therefore the correct military
option. Public opinion or public experience with the horrors of
war didn't matter at all.

I'd blame the cowboy ascension more on the demise of the Soviet Union.
There's no longer a credible threat to vapourize large chunks of
the U.S. in case of war, hence reason (a) has largely disappeared.
Hence, the U.S. basically can do what it wants... which is
whatever it is deemed to be in its self interest, or (more
accurately) the interest of those running it.

Same as any other country.

Note also that the attempts to revive parts of SDI are
to ensure that, in case of war, some other
nuclear-armed country can't make reason (a) a realistic threat ...

We now return you to our regularly scheduled cynicism. :-<

>
>

--
Russell Crook rmc...@interlog.com

"To a first approximation, the hardware is free." - Tom Duff, 1989.

Jim Carr

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to

Having seen many replies, I'll try to collect my comments in a
few places regardless of where they might actually fall in the
entire thread. BTW, my main reason for posting this was that it
shows how an urban legend could develop from statements that
were known to be false by the people the spokescritters were
speaking for at that time.

Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:
|
| While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
| their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
| Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
| the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:
|
| " Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
| practicable military application in the foreseeable future.

In article <37f9...@news.iglou.com>

joe...@iglou.com (Joe Fischer) writes:
>
> Sputnik was about the size of a softball,
>and beeped, not really a lethal weapon. :-)

Except that it was not that small. It was 22 inches (about 56 cm)
in diameter and weighed 184 pounds (about 84 kg). You are thinking
of the first US satellite. Note that the ability to place an object
of that mass in an orbit 560 miles (about 900 km) high indicated a
_present_ capability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the US via a
sub-orbital trajectory.

| They said, however, that study of such satellites could
| provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
| studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

> And a complete Atlas rocket was already assembled,


>and the whole thing, except for the half stage, could have
>been placed in LEO anytime.

If it had worked. What is amusing is the "could" and "might" when
anyone with a clue (the readers of this newsgroup, had it existed)
would know that tracking Sputnik would be use for exactly that
purpose by us as well as them. More specifically, they knew it
would be used by them to understand the ICBM used to launch the
satellite -- and they also knew the launch was coming. ;-)

| The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen
| bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
| could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
| aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "
|
| Sweet, eh?

> Pretty accurate appraisal, it was 1957. Without
>CCD imaging, it would essentially all still be true. :-)

No, it was total disinformation making use of a standard propaganda
technique that you see used quite often in newsgroup debates, the
half-truth where selected true statements are used to convey the
impression that a number of other things are true also.

You could not "drop" a bomb from a satellite (it would just stay in
orbit next to you), but you could fire a retro rocket and send the
whole thing to earth. So all you need is the ability to make an
atomic bomb that only weighs about 150 pounds (with higher mass
possible for a lower orbit, and all assuming totally static rocket
technology). Note that they were also careful not to say that
the _rocket_ could not be used to drop atomic bombs on the US.

And I especially like "proposed plan" for "aerial inspection", given
that the US had been flying U-2 spy planes over the USSR since April
1956. But since that "proposed plan" did exist, and probably made no
mention of space rather than "aerial" observation, that statement was
true as well. Yet 1957 is when planning for replacement of the U-2
started [according to a talk by Wheelon at the Atlanta APS meeting]
leading to creation of the SR-71 and Corona projects. The latter
flew before the SR-71, and had its first success in August 1960,
returning photographic film with 6' resolution. You can see an example
of this technology on display in the Smithsonian. Thus I see this
last set of remarks directed at the Soviets, not Americans.

That is why I found it such fascinating reading.

me...@cars3.uchicago.edu

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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In article <37FA2594...@Sun.COM>, Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:

>Harry H Conover wrote:
>>
>> Orbiting surveillance, orbiting MIRV bomb platforms, global communications
>> capabilities, just to name a few things that might have disturbed the
>> public just a bit. Just the notion of many nuclear devices in perpetual
>> orbit and ready to rain down on every major U.S. target awaiting only
>> a radio signal from Moscow? (Scares the Hell out of me even today.)
>
>"Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."
>
>It may well have been that the military of the time simply didn't
>understand the strategic value of these to be developed capabilities.
>(the phrase "generals fighting the last war" comes to mind).
>If it was that obvious, I would have expected far more work on
>developing rockets, etc. in the pre-Sputnik era.
>
There was a hell of a lot work on developing rockets in the
pre-Sputnik era.

>(Also, don't forget that much of the information value of space
>wouldn't be apparent until intergrated circuits came into
>existence later. Trying imagining building intelligence satellites
>using only vacuum tubes and point-contact transistors for
>processing :->).
>

Was done and worked.

Mati Meron | "When you argue with a fool,
me...@cars.uchicago.edu | chances are he is doing just the same"

Jim Carr

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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In article <7tbqps$6...@news-central.tiac.net>
con...@tiac.net (Harry H Conover) writes:
>
>Jim, you and I both are aware that there is a legitimate need not to
>tell the public everything.

Right, and some of those comments were directed at an audience in
Moscow, as noted in my other comment. It was the use of half-truths
to hide both US plans and Soviet capability that was interesting.

>Given the absolute horror and shock
>reaction that Sputnik created in the scientific and defense sectors,
>I can only imagine the public outcry and panic that would have erupted
>in the public sector if the total potential impact of this even had
>been surfaced.

Ah, but that assumes the US public really believed all those
words rather than what they could see overhead at night or
hear on their HAM radio sets. As you noted further down

>By the time of Sputnik, the American public was already in a frenzy of
>fear as a result of the cold war, and a nuclear attack without warning
>seemed a very real possibility. Objective, uncensored reports about the
>true significance of Sputnik and the potential for Russian space
>superiority would have driven many Americans over the edge.

so it is unclear if they would believe the official pronouncements.
(I have visions of the guy in Animal House saying "remain calm"
in a frenzied voice.) Maybe just enough to keep people who thought
like Gen. LeMay from taking over the government. The presence of
a respected general in the White House might have been the main
thing that kept that from happening. You see, I think the people
did realize the Soviets had superiority in space, but had enough
confidence in Eisenhower and the USAF and our huge lead in nuclear
weapons to believe that we could deter a Soviet missile attack.

I am a bit younger than you, so I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis
vividly as well as watching Echo (easily seen with the naked eye,
like Mir and the Shuttle today), but only picked up the general
post-Sputnik atmosphere as well as being at the leading edge of the
changes it led to in education. That the impact was huge, with or
without propaganda, was obvious.

>(At the time I was still a student, but had close friends
>working as co-op students on our Vanguard program at the time. It was
>absolute chaos for those on the inside.)

Fascinating. Yeah, I can imagine what that must have been like.
I only remember watching them blow up. Consider posting something
about that sometime.

Dirk Bruere

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to

Russell Crook wrote:
>

> I'd blame the cowboy ascension more on the demise of the Soviet Union.

One might claim that Communism was what kept Capitalism reasonably
moral.

> There's no longer a credible threat to vapourize large chunks of
> the U.S. in case of war, hence reason (a) has largely disappeared.
> Hence, the U.S. basically can do what it wants... which is
> whatever it is deemed to be in its self interest, or (more
> accurately) the interest of those running it.

> Same as any other country.

> Note also that the attempts to revive parts of SDI are
> to ensure that, in case of war, some other
> nuclear-armed country can't make reason (a) a realistic threat ...

I think the US will discover the hard way that SDI is irrelevent if a
nuke is carried as luggage on a passenger jet to NY.

Dirk

Jim Carr

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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... reduced followups ...


In article <7tbvmn$c7m$1...@panix2.panix.com>

e...@panix.com (Edward Green) writes:
>
>Were microelectronics "foreseeable" in 1957? Without
>them, the surveillance functions were certainly unforeseeable.

Ah, but the surveillance functions already existed (U-2) and the
idea for Corona (code name for the first spy satellite) was in
gestation with actual engineering production starting in 1959.

>And,
>for whatever reason, the function of orbital bombardment has never
>been developed.

Many good reasons. This was one of the first things banned by
treaty, although I can't recall which one. It was obviously an
extremely destabilizing type of weapon to have around in time of
crisis, obvious to both sides. The scorpions knew they were in
a bottle; they were not about to put on blindfolds.

me...@cars3.uchicago.edu

unread,
Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
In article <7tdab7$jq4$1...@news.fsu.edu>, j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu (Jim Carr) writes:
>
> ... reduced followups ...
>
>
>In article <7tbvmn$c7m$1...@panix2.panix.com>
>e...@panix.com (Edward Green) writes:
>>
>
>>And,
>>for whatever reason, the function of orbital bombardment has never
>>been developed.
>
> Many good reasons. This was one of the first things banned by
> treaty, although I can't recall which one. It was obviously an
> extremely destabilizing type of weapon to have around in time of
> crisis, obvious to both sides. The scorpions knew they were in
> a bottle; they were not about to put on blindfolds.
>
An apt description. With a reduction of early warning time from 30-45
minutes to 5 minutes or less, the time window available before the "use it
or loose it" point would have shrunk to practically nothing.

Gregory L. Hansen

unread,
Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
In article <37FA334E...@kbnet.co.uk>,
Dirk Bruere <art...@kbnet.co.uk> wrote:

>I think the US will discover the hard way that SDI is irrelevent if a
>nuke is carried as luggage on a passenger jet to NY.

Since the airline industries have become a bit paranoid about
conventional bombs, I somehow doubt they'd let a nuclear bomb slip
through. I think it would raise a few eyebrows when it goes through the
x-ray machine.

--
No electrons were harmed in the posting of this message.

Paul Tomblin

unread,
Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
In a previous article, glha...@steel.ucs.indiana.edu (Gregory L. Hansen) said:
>In article <37FA334E...@kbnet.co.uk>,
>Dirk Bruere <art...@kbnet.co.uk> wrote:
>
>>I think the US will discover the hard way that SDI is irrelevent if a
>>nuke is carried as luggage on a passenger jet to NY.
>
>Since the airline industries have become a bit paranoid about
>conventional bombs, I somehow doubt they'd let a nuclear bomb slip
>through. I think it would raise a few eyebrows when it goes through the
>x-ray machine.

Ok then, substitute "tramp steamer", "private aircraft", or "U-Haul" for
"passenger jet". Since we can't keep any of those from bringing in illegal
aliens and/or drugs, why do you think we could keep out atomic weapons
smuggled in the same way?


--
Paul Tomblin, not speaking for anybody.
SETI@Home: Finally a *good* way to impress Jodie Foster
http://www.setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/

Russell Crook

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
me...@cars3.uchicago.edu wrote:
>
> In article <37FA2594...@Sun.COM>, Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:
> >Harry H Conover wrote:
> >>
> >> Orbiting surveillance, orbiting MIRV bomb platforms, global communications
> >> capabilities, just to name a few things that might have disturbed the
> >> public just a bit. Just the notion of many nuclear devices in perpetual
> >> orbit and ready to rain down on every major U.S. target awaiting only
> >> a radio signal from Moscow? (Scares the Hell out of me even today.)
> >
> >"Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."
> >
> >It may well have been that the military of the time simply didn't
> >understand the strategic value of these to be developed capabilities.
> >(the phrase "generals fighting the last war" comes to mind).
> >If it was that obvious, I would have expected far more work on
> >developing rockets, etc. in the pre-Sputnik era.
> >
> There was a hell of a lot work on developing rockets in the
> pre-Sputnik era.

Sorry, I should have been clearer on what I meant.
Virtually all the pre-Sputnik rocket work was devoted to better
missiles,
not pushing the other, related technologies for satellites. If
satellites had been one of the goals, the engineering and
technologies pursued would have been different.

After all, the U.S. satellite hopes for the IGY were predicated
on Vanguard, which used a mutated Viking (!) as the first stage, and was
notable mainly for being (at the time) the theoretical minimum rocket
to get anything provably into orbit (the Vanguard I "grapefruit",
less than 2 kilos of orbiting mass - just enough to have a detectably
powerful radio transmitter). This was a largely non-military project.

When that blew up on the pad in December 1957, Von Braun (was) committed
to launching a satellite in under 60 days, adapting a military
rocket (Redstone, renamed "Jupiter-C" for PR purposes) by gluing
on three more stages... the most amazing thing is that they
succeeded.


>
> >(Also, don't forget that much of the information value of space
> >wouldn't be apparent until intergrated circuits came into
> >existence later. Trying imagining building intelligence satellites
> >using only vacuum tubes and point-contact transistors for
> >processing :->).
> >

> Was done and worked.

Interesting... I presume you mean USSR satellites, as the US
rockets didn't have the throw weight necessary until such time
as the electronics become much lighter/less power hungry.

If not, please enlighten me. (And the Discovery series doesn't
count, they returned physical film :-> Well, at least the fourteenth
one did :->)

>
> Mati Meron | "When you argue with a fool,
> me...@cars.uchicago.edu | chances are he is doing just the same"

--
Russell Crook, Systems Engineer, Computer Systems
Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc. 100 Renfrew Drive
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 9R6 rmc...@Canada.Sun.com
Tel: +1-905-415-7950 Fax: +1-905-477-9969
Not speaking officially for Sun (or anyone else, for that matter).

Peter Deutsch

unread,
Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
Gregory L. Hansen wrote:
>
> In article <37FA334E...@kbnet.co.uk>,
> Dirk Bruere <art...@kbnet.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >I think the US will discover the hard way that SDI is irrelevent if a
> >nuke is carried as luggage on a passenger jet to NY.
>
> Since the airline industries have become a bit paranoid about
> conventional bombs, I somehow doubt they'd let a nuclear bomb slip
> through. I think it would raise a few eyebrows when it goes through the
> x-ray machine.

This is almost completely off topic, but Dave Barry has just come out
with his first novel, in which (amongst all the other hysteria) a couple
of panhanders manage to smuggle both a handgun *and* a small nuclear
weapon past the airport security checkpoint. I can't go into more detail
without spoiling the ending, but his scenario is fairly plausible.

I also have a friend who swears his brother smuggled a handgun past the
checkpoint on the way to meet him at the gate, just to show it can be
done.

- Peter "Anything to declare?" "Yup, I'm worried about the
situation in the Middle East" Deutsch


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Thomas Jefferson on DNS Administration...

No, my friend, the way to have good and safe government,
is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the
many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he
is competent to. It is by dividing and subdividing these
republics from the national one down through all its
subordinations, until it ends in the administration of
every man's farm by himself; by placing under every one
what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done
for the best.

-- Thomas Jefferson, to Joseph Cabell, 1816
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Russell Crook

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
Jim Carr wrote:
>
> Having seen many replies, I'll try to collect my comments in a
> few places regardless of where they might actually fall in the
> entire thread. BTW, my main reason for posting this was that it
> shows how an urban legend could develop from statements that
> were known to be false by the people the spokescritters were
> speaking for at that time.
>
> Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:
> |
> | While checking the NYTimes today, I could not help but note that
> | their historic headline du jour was from 4 October 1957 when
> | Sputnik was launched. The article by William J. Jorden includes
> | the following (sadly unattributed) tidbits about Sputnik:
> |
> | " Military experts have said that the satellites would have no
> | practicable military application in the foreseeable future.

> In article <37f9...@news.iglou.com>
> joe...@iglou.com (Joe Fischer) writes:
> >
> > Sputnik was about the size of a softball,
> >and beeped, not really a lethal weapon. :-)

> Except that it was not that small. It was 22 inches (about 56 cm)
> in diameter and weighed 184 pounds (about 84 kg). You are thinking
> of the first US satellite.

Minor nit, the first U.S. satellite was not the softball (Vanguard I),
if was the larger (31 lb?) pointy Explorer I.

> Note that the ability to place an object
> of that mass in an orbit 560 miles (about 900 km) high indicated a
> _present_ capability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the US via a
> sub-orbital trajectory.

Yes, although not a capability to hit a given state (except possibly
Texas or Alaska). But I'd guess that wasn't well realized until much
later.



> | They said, however, that study of such satellites could
> | provide valuable information that might be applied to flight
> | studies for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

> > And a complete Atlas rocket was already assembled,
> >and the whole thing, except for the half stage, could have
> >been placed in LEO anytime.

Dubious, or it would have been done and then announced after the fact.
Given that the USSR had 500 kg satellites in orbit before
the U.S. orbited a total of 50 kg, it would would have been significant
propaganda to claim the empty Atlas mass as a satellite.


> If it had worked. What is amusing is the "could" and "might" when
> anyone with a clue (the readers of this newsgroup, had it existed)
> would know that tracking Sputnik would be use for exactly that
> purpose by us as well as them. More specifically, they knew it
> would be used by them to understand the ICBM used to launch the
> satellite -- and they also knew the launch was coming. ;-)

> | The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen
> | bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
> | could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
> | aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "
> |
> | Sweet, eh?

> > Pretty accurate appraisal, it was 1957. Without
> >CCD imaging, it would essentially all still be true. :-)

> No, it was total disinformation making use of a standard propaganda
> technique that you see used quite often in newsgroup debates, the
> half-truth where selected true statements are used to convey the
> impression that a number of other things are true also.

As I said elsewhere, I wouldn't be surprised if ignorance were
part of that as well - a genuine inability to comprehend
what satellites could do. No doubt the disinformation part was real -
after all, if there *was* military value in satellites, and that
the other side could do it and the U.S. couldn't, it might be
perceived that there was a certain military incompetence in the U.S.
military ... couldn't have that, now could we :-<



> You could not "drop" a bomb from a satellite (it would just stay in
> orbit next to you), but you could fire a retro rocket and send the
> whole thing to earth. So all you need is the ability to make an
> atomic bomb that only weighs about 150 pounds (with higher mass
> possible for a lower orbit, and all assuming totally static rocket
> technology).

And ignoring the mass of the heat shield, the guidance system,
and a few other gew-gaws :-> Mind you, this point was rendered
moot by Sputnik III (500+ kg ...)

No doubt you could make a bomb come down in one piece, but it would
have a 100 Km CEP or so. A terror weapon, nonetheless.

> Note that they were also careful not to say that
> the _rocket_ could not be used to drop atomic bombs on the US.

> And I especially like "proposed plan" for "aerial inspection", given
> that the US had been flying U-2 spy planes over the USSR since April
> 1956. But since that "proposed plan" did exist, and probably made no
> mention of space rather than "aerial" observation, that statement was
> true as well. Yet 1957 is when planning for replacement of the U-2
> started [according to a talk by Wheelon at the Atlanta APS meeting]

Actually, it appears that other U-2 replacement work predates this,
the (in)famous CL-400/Suntan, to be fueled by liquid hydrogen, whose
design
was seriously worked upon in early 1956 (see
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4404 for details).
It got as far as working turbojets designed and built to burn LH2.

> leading to creation of the SR-71 and Corona projects. The latter
> flew before the SR-71, and had its first success in August 1960,
> returning photographic film with 6' resolution.

At the time, this was touted as the (supposedly civilian) Discovery
series of satellites, was it not? (And, IIRC, it wasn't until
Discovery XIV or so that the desired film was actually retrieved as
desired.) More disinformation...

> You can see an example
> of this technology on display in the Smithsonian. Thus I see this
> last set of remarks directed at the Soviets, not Americans.
>
> That is why I found it such fascinating reading.

Yes, it is fascinating to reread what was said at the time, and
compare it with current recollections of the time. It is astonishing
how much the present affects the interpretation of the past,
due to information hiding/revealing, wishful thinking, and outright
deliberate deceit.

--
Russell Crook rmc...@interlog.com

james d. hunter

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
Harry H Conover wrote:
>
> Edward Green (e...@panix.com) wrote:
> : Harry H Conover <con...@tiac.net> wrote:

[...]

> Today, the most terrifying thought for me is that since there has not
> been a major global war in over 50 years, a majority of those alive
> today have only read about such things. Now you can learn a great
> deal about something by reading, but you can never share the essence
> of the first hand experience, which in this case is coming face to
> face with absolute terror. I beleive that this is why we haven't
> seen a major war in over 50-years, but now this situation is changing.
> The cowboys, lunatics, and greedy are once again starting to seize power,
> and once again history is likely to repeat. This, for me, is far more
> terrifying than any horror that science can possibly dish out!

That doesn't much sense. Many of the WWII generals and admirals were
veterans of at least three or four major wars. They're pretty much
the people who call the nuke shots. Today's generals are usually
screened for their religoidedness. So, there are safeguards in place.

Dirk Bruere

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to

"Gregory L. Hansen" wrote:
>
> >I think the US will discover the hard way that SDI is irrelevent if a
> >nuke is carried as luggage on a passenger jet to NY.

> Since the airline industries have become a bit paranoid about
> conventional bombs, I somehow doubt they'd let a nuclear bomb slip
> through. I think it would raise a few eyebrows when it goes through the
> x-ray machine.

Maybe the authorities at the departure end in (say) the Middle East
won't be too fussy. Alternatively, get some technicians to build it into
the structure during servicing.

I don't envisage the plane actually getting to land in NY or wherever.

Dirk

me...@cars3.uchicago.edu

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
In article <37FA4D94...@Sun.COM>, Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:
>me...@cars3.uchicago.edu wrote:
>>
>> In article <37FA2594...@Sun.COM>, Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:
>> >Harry H Conover wrote:
>> >>
>> >> Orbiting surveillance, orbiting MIRV bomb platforms, global communications
>> >> capabilities, just to name a few things that might have disturbed the
>> >> public just a bit. Just the notion of many nuclear devices in perpetual
>> >> orbit and ready to rain down on every major U.S. target awaiting only
>> >> a radio signal from Moscow? (Scares the Hell out of me even today.)
>> >
>> >"Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."
>> >
>> >It may well have been that the military of the time simply didn't
>> >understand the strategic value of these to be developed capabilities.
>> >(the phrase "generals fighting the last war" comes to mind).
>> >If it was that obvious, I would have expected far more work on
>> >developing rockets, etc. in the pre-Sputnik era.
>> >
>> There was a hell of a lot work on developing rockets in the
>> pre-Sputnik era.
>
>Sorry, I should have been clearer on what I meant.
>Virtually all the pre-Sputnik rocket work was devoted to better
>missiles, not pushing the other, related technologies for satellites. If
>satellites had been one of the goals, the engineering and
>technologies pursued would have been different.
>
Not that much different. The issues of throw weight and guidance were
just the same. There is no essential difference between launching
something to few percent below orbital velocity (as you do with ICBMs)
or all the way to orbital velocity. About the only difference between
the two cases is that military designs demand fuel-oxidizer mixtures
which can be either stored on board the missile, indefinitely, or, at
least, allow for a very rapid refueling when needed. Satellite
launchers don't have this constraint.

>After all, the U.S. satellite hopes for the IGY were predicated
>on Vanguard, which used a mutated Viking (!) as the first stage, and was
>notable mainly for being (at the time) the theoretical minimum rocket
>to get anything provably into orbit (the Vanguard I "grapefruit",
>less than 2 kilos of orbiting mass - just enough to have a detectably
>powerful radio transmitter). This was a largely non-military project.
>

Indeed. But don't forget that Jupiter and Thor were already
operational by then and Atlas and Titan were under intense
development. Thes projects were not started in the wake of the
Sputnik but independently of it. The decision to base the satellite
program on an independently developed "civilian" rocket instead of on
one of the military ones was political, AFAIK, having nothing to do
with technological considerations.


>>
>> >(Also, don't forget that much of the information value of space
>> >wouldn't be apparent until intergrated circuits came into
>> >existence later. Trying imagining building intelligence satellites
>> >using only vacuum tubes and point-contact transistors for
>> >processing :->).
>> >

>> Was done and worked.
>
>Interesting... I presume you mean USSR satellites, as the US
>rockets didn't have the throw weight necessary until such time
>as the electronics become much lighter/less power hungry.
>

No, just the opposite. Do you really think that there was no
technology in existance before the invention of the microprocessor?:-)
Sounds like the people who say about this or other country "they can't
develope nuclear weapons, their technology isn't advanced enough" not
realizing that the first nuclear weapons were built using 40s
technology.

Granted, modern electronics allows you to do things faster, cheaper
and (important) lighter than before. But lots of stuff could've and
was done using older technology. Throw weight for satellites was
already few tons at the beginning of the 60s, quite enough to put in
quality optics and enough electronics to do something useful.

>If not, please enlighten me. (And the Discovery series doesn't
>count, they returned physical film :-> Well, at least the fourteenth
>one did :->)
>

Physical film still has a better resolution than a CCD. And you use
what's available. If you can send the image, you do it, if you need
to drop physical film, you'll do this too. What counts is that the
info gets where it needs to get to.

Marvin

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
Joe Fischer <joe...@iglou.com> wrote in message
news:37f9...@news.iglou.com...
> Jim Carr (j...@ibms48.scri.fsu.edu) wrote:
<snip>
> : The satellites could not be used to drop atomic of hydrogen

> : bombs or anything else on the earth, scientists have said. Nor
> : could they be used in connection with the proposed plan for
> : aerial inspection of military forces around the world. "
> :
> : Sweet, eh?
>
> Pretty accurate appraisal, it was 1957. Without
> CCD imaging, it would essentially all still be true. :-)
>
> Joe Fischer

Much better with CCD cameras, but satellite imagery was used for military
purposes before that. One method even used photographic film, which was
parachuted from the satellite after the pictures weresnapped. The parachute
with film package was either caught in mid-air (a pretty tricky opertaion)
or recovered from the ocean where it landed.


me...@cars3.uchicago.edu

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
In article <37FA5860...@Sun.COM>, Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:

>Jim Carr wrote:
>>
>> You could not "drop" a bomb from a satellite (it would just stay in
>> orbit next to you), but you could fire a retro rocket and send the
>> whole thing to earth. So all you need is the ability to make an
>> atomic bomb that only weighs about 150 pounds (with higher mass
>> possible for a lower orbit, and all assuming totally static rocket
>> technology).
>
>And ignoring the mass of the heat shield, the guidance system,
>and a few other gew-gaws :->

Not different than for an ICBM launched warhead.

>No doubt you could make a bomb come down in one piece, but it would
>have a 100 Km CEP or so. A terror weapon, nonetheless.
>

Why? What makes you think such a bomb should be any less accurate
than one launched by an ICBM.

Harry H Conover

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
Russell Crook (russel...@Sun.COM) wrote:
:
: Interesting... I presume you mean USSR satellites, as the US

: rockets didn't have the throw weight necessary until such time
: as the electronics become much lighter/less power hungry.

Sorry, this isn't true. What you describe as microelectronics
didn't even begin to play a major role until well into the third
or fourth generation of U.S. photo recon satelites. These employed
conventional electronics for communications, combined with latching
magnetic relay logic (because it could be powered down without loss
of information).

Is is a misnomer to believe that the U.S. didn't have the throw
power early on to orbit these birds, although not in 1957.
In fact, all of the early U.S. recon birds returned physical
film, usually 9" type SO-xxx (likely still sensitive), and they
were both large and heavy, with Casegranian optics.

By 1966, Titan and Titan III boosters with Agena second stages
were probably the norm.

: If not, please enlighten me. (And the Discovery series doesn't


: count, they returned physical film :-> Well, at least the fourteenth
: one did :->)

I worked in the field at the time, and frankly have never heard of
the Discoverery Series. All of the photographic birds of the era
were the result of projects whose names (because of project security)
remain classified (even today). Names that have been declassified
are simply 'R' and 'K', and today's KH-11 is a high tech second
cousin to the original 'K'.

Keep in mind that the press, lacking insight into classified programs,
like to invent stuff to fill space. Once exception to this rule has
historically been 'Space and Aviation Week' who, to put it mildly,
who have in the past revealed some rather remarkable things.

Harry C.

Jim Carr

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
me...@cars3.uchicago.edu wrote:

}
} Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:
} >It may well have been that the military of the time simply didn't
} >understand the strategic value of these to be developed capabilities.
} >(the phrase "generals fighting the last war" comes to mind).
} >If it was that obvious, I would have expected far more work on
} >developing rockets, etc. in the pre-Sputnik era.
}
} There was a hell of a lot work on developing rockets in the
} pre-Sputnik era.

In article <37FA4D94...@Sun.COM>

Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:
>
>Sorry, I should have been clearer on what I meant.
>Virtually all the pre-Sputnik rocket work was devoted to better
>missiles, not pushing the other, related technologies for satellites.

This is not true. There were separate military and civilian programs.

>If satellites had been one of the goals, the engineering and
>technologies pursued would have been different.

Do you think that there is an essential difference between the
Titan used as an ICBM and a Titan used to orbit a satellite? Or,
to be even more concrete, between a Thor used for whatever it was
developed for (anti-missle?) and its use to launch the Agena that
carried the Corona payload?

>After all, the U.S. satellite hopes for the IGY were predicated
>on Vanguard, which used a mutated Viking (!) as the first stage, and was
>notable mainly for being (at the time) the theoretical minimum rocket
>to get anything provably into orbit (the Vanguard I "grapefruit",
>less than 2 kilos of orbiting mass - just enough to have a detectably
>powerful radio transmitter). This was a largely non-military project.

Your last sentence is what explains everything else. The U.S.
made a conscious, very political, decision to develop a rocket
entirely on the "civilian" side for scientific research such as
that centered around the IGY. [Aren't we overdue for another?]

This was not a necessary decision, as you note.

>When that blew up on the pad in December 1957, Von Braun (was) committed
>to launching a satellite in under 60 days, adapting a military
>rocket (Redstone, renamed "Jupiter-C" for PR purposes) by gluing
>on three more stages... the most amazing thing is that they
>succeeded.

Not at all. They knew a lot about the rockets they used. Once
the division between Army/AirForce rockets and civilian rockets
was eliminated, much progress took place immediately. Similar
things happened when a civilian program needed a big laser.

} >(Also, don't forget that much of the information value of space
} >wouldn't be apparent until intergrated circuits came into
} >existence later. Trying imagining building intelligence satellites
} >using only vacuum tubes and point-contact transistors for
} >processing :->).
}

} Was done and worked.

>Interesting... I presume you mean USSR satellites, as the US
>rockets didn't have the throw weight necessary until such time
>as the electronics become much lighter/less power hungry.

Reconsider the history that was not published at the time. It
turns out that the satellite was the "second stage" and the
"satellite" was just to send some things back home.

>If not, please enlighten me. (And the Discovery series doesn't
>count, they returned physical film :-> Well, at least the fourteenth
>one did :->)

Discovery? Oh, you mean Corona. ;-)

What an awesome cover story that was, eh? That the President
could pose with the canister that returned spy satellite photos ....

And the pointing and navigation and control systems were based
on what, do you think?

Jim Carr

unread,
Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
In article <37FA5860...@Sun.COM>,
Russell Crook <russel...@Sun.COM> writes:
}
} Jim Carr wrote:
} > You could not "drop" a bomb from a satellite (it would just stay in
} > orbit next to you), but you could fire a retro rocket and send the
} > whole thing to earth. ...
...

}
} No doubt you could make a bomb come down in one piece, but it would
} have a 100 Km CEP or so. A terror weapon, nonetheless.

In article <V6uK3.175$F3.1578@uchinews>

me...@cars3.uchicago.edu writes:
>
>Why? What makes you think such a bomb should be any less accurate
>than one launched by an ICBM.

I think his point was that guidance systems were not too good
at that time, and neither was our (and their) knowledge of how
such an object would reenter the atmosphere. We had our share
of manned missions where the CEP was about that, so the point
is valid. Still does not change the 'right but not relevant'
nature of the statements attributed to the military experts,
which were purely for public and foreign consumption.

danny burstein

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99