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[Ben]:X-37B launched Discuss This [3 comments so far] View Comments
The US Air Force launched the X-37B unmanned minishuttle today. Jon and I hashed out some possibilities and half-jokingly decided that this craft has been specifically designed to maintain an existing God Rod network. Specifically, the network consists of independent kinetic projectiles (probably tungsten or depleted uranium) between 6 and 10 feet in length with attached maneuvering thrusters and a simple guidance package. The advantage of this system would be:
  • Redundancy - no one anti-satellite missile or piece of space junk can kill the system.
  • Speed to target - a distributed network of individual projectiles could mean greater target coverage and less time to wait for a unit to be in the funnel compared to a traditional multi-projectile Thor platform.
  • Stealth - each individual unit could easily be passed off as debris from satellites if detected whereas a unified platform would be harder to disguise.

We figure the X-37B is a tender for the network, designed to deploy and maintain not just the rods themselves, but the low-power relay network designed to re-broadcast commands sent to Keyhole satellites.

Seriously, though, while it is far more likely that this is the result of legislative pork production, it was a fun mind-game.
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