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Old 10-12-2012, 12:56 AM   #46
Requiem
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Just had to chime in here with a little known fact. The Air Force already accomplishes 95%+ of space missions in the U.S. NASA has always been about furthering the human exploration/research of space and their mission explains that. Most satellites and rocket launches have always been accomplished by the USAF. Even NASA's research satellites are launched by the Air Force. As a matter of fact, NASA doesn't even own ANY rockets. They are shifting back from the shuttle mission to rockets, but they don't have any now, minus single purpose/special types, i.e. curiosity's Atlas V, which they got from the Air Force/international scientific community. You ever noticed that most of the rockets say USAF on the side? Just some food for thought.
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:35 AM   #47
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I'd like to invent a new branch of the military: one created specifically for orbital operations. I want it to have an elite force, something akin to the navy seals, that handles reconnaissance and counter-terrorism. And I want it to feel believable.

So... if within the next 200 years the orbital regions near earth became a center of political and military conflict, which branch of the military would initially move into that vacuum? And how and when might that branch of the military be split in order to create an independent organization?
Transportation would probably remain Air Force. It seems unlikely that activities in space could grow enough in 200 years to warrant another military branch at the hghest level; even then, it is never in the interest of any of the other existing branches to allow it.

But the "payload" is, today, from or for many entities: Air Force, Navy, commercial enterprises, NOAA, CIA... This will remain, so that the "elite force" is basically from anywhere organizationally you like (including private contractors or mercenaries), using Air Force transportation. If/when nations make territorial claims in space, for example, I'm sure Dept. of Homeland Security would say it should be their people up there.

"Orbital regions near Earth" is ambiguous to me. It's either Earth orbit or solar orbit (or on the Moon). Earth orbit (LEO, MEO, GEO, elliptical) are currently too susceptible to ground-based weapons attack (conventional warhead, nuclear, and beam) to convincingly keep people up there during war, unless that weakness changes somehow in the interim. Stealth technology might be convincing. Maybe a Lagrange point would be better, or the Moon.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:08 AM   #48
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Just had to chime in here with a little known fact. The Air Force already accomplishes 95%+ of space missions in the U.S. NASA has always been about furthering the human exploration/research of space and their mission explains that.
Taking that further: in most every other country with *official* government-run space access, it is the military that runs the rocket programs. Russia has always had a separate Rocket Force.

Even in the US, the USAF ran a separate manned space program--with plans for their own space station--and until the shuttle era all astronauts were military and even then most Shuttle pilots and co-pilots were military. This will likely remain as log as extensive High-power jet experience remains a requirement for Space vehicle pilots and mission commanders. So in effect, even in the US, we are already well into the "Army Air Corps" era.

It will take a new, more developed, era of space operations before the mission needs change enough--from earth-based sorties to extensive space-based operations--before the need for an independent branch can be carved out of the USAF. And even then the most likely scenario is that the USAF will evolve into the USASF and then into the USSF. Institutionally, the USAF is not going to let anybody do unto them as they did to the Army.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:52 AM   #49
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But in 200 years they might. Or they might be company-driven mercenary armies.

[QUOTE=fjtorres;2260800]Because private industry doesn't actually have the resources to do what they're doing. What "private industry" is doing is being financed almost exclusively by NASA contracts and enabled by technology transfers from NASA and russia.
It is all a political shell game.

<snip>
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:18 AM   #50
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If you're doing SciFi, just give a nod to pop culture.



I should note that Marines get rides from the Navy.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:48 AM   #51
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Just had to chime in here with a little known fact. The Air Force already accomplishes 95%+ of space missions in the U.S.
But the majority (about 70%, I believe) of commercial satellite launches are carried out by the European Space Agency. They have that market pretty much sewn up at present, although commercial launch companies will, I'm sure, change that over that next few years.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:14 AM   #52
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But the majority (about 70%, I believe) of commercial satellite launches are carried out by the European Space Agency. They have that market pretty much sewn up at present, although commercial launch companies will, I'm sure, change that over that next few years.
I do not know enough about the structure of the European organizations to comment specifically, but I can suggest, with good reason, that the European Air Forces probably have their own space program also, think ICBM/Military satellites.

But also remember, that the Air Force does not fight on the ground, we bring the Army and Marines where they need to go. (So does the Navy). In the US it is not longer delineated into any force doing anything without the support of the others. It is called Joint Operations for a reason. I am just surmising that the ships may be Air Force, but they will carry marines and army. The navy may have the role of the larger carrier type vessels that can launch smaller planes for localized (space) combat, while the air force moves people and equipment to the planet to actually fight/launch from the surface. So I don't think it is going to be as delineated as anyone may think. There should be tons of time to figure it out though.

Last edited by Requiem; 10-12-2012 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:41 AM   #53
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But in 200 years they might. Or they might be company-driven mercenary armies.
The subject is near-term Hard SF.
In the near term control of space is a *core* national security issue and thus a government concern that is not going to be contracted out.
200 years from now? Anything could happen by then.
Even that long-overdue asteroid impact.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #54
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Rather than create a new military unit I would look back into the past for inspiration.


Spartans – a social and military elite force based on the training of children through to adulthood. These will never under any circumstances surrender.

Mamluks – As above, but slave soldiers

Warrior Monks – As above but religious fanatics

Theban Sacred Band – Small elite force. Only pairs of lovers were allow to join.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:37 PM   #55
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Just had to chime in here with a little known fact. The Air Force already accomplishes 95%+ of space missions in the U.S. NASA has always been about furthering the human exploration/research of space and their mission explains that.
...hmmmm.... so, the 'N' in NASA doesn't stand for 'Navy' then?




(duck and cover!!)
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:41 PM   #56
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But no pressure, Nancy!
Heh. No, of course not. Space is a vacuum, after all.
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:56 PM   #57
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I've been following this thread with fascination. You guys are seriously smart. My sincere thanks.

Ok, so let's assume we've got a space elevator, a number of recreational and medicinal space stations in LEO, and some serious asteroid mining outposts who have declared themselves to be an independent entity from all Earth nations.

What kinds of special ops assignments might emerge within this milieu? I'm looking for something that requires a small, elite force and that's going to force my protagonist to confront the enemy pretty much face-to-face.

Last edited by Nancy Fulda; 10-12-2012 at 02:59 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:58 PM   #58
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I'm still working out the details of which military branch controls what, but let's work with the idea of a combined model; the Air Force transports ground forces and maintains small combat vessels, the Navy maintains larger battle stations, and so forth.

(Speaking of which, if anyone has ideas on where the turf wars between the various branches might occur, that would be very handy.)
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #59
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One thing comes to mind, if the miners have the energy to change the orbits of the asteroids and hang the threat of bombarding earth if independence is not granted. The earth only has two choices, sent them nuclear love notes and kisses, or people to stop them. In this theoretical situation the down side of nukes is the explosions could dislodge asteroids from their orbits and that could threaten earth. So your heroine and her group goes out to stop the radicals.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:04 PM   #60
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Requiem wrote:
>the Air Force does not fight on the ground, we bring the Army and Marines where they need to go.

Air Force Security Police are trained to go toe-to-toe w/ Russian Spetsnaz under the assumption that in a hot conflict assaults on Airbases would be made by such troops.

Air Force Special Operations Command Combat Controllers are on the ground pretty much everywhere one needs to have Air Force air strikes called in.

Air Force Pararescue will do whatever is necessary to save others.
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