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Old 10-12-2012, 05:33 PM   #61
fjtorres
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Heh. No, of course not. Space is a vacuum, after all.
Ba-da-ba-dump!!

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Old 10-12-2012, 05:38 PM   #62
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...hmmmm.... so, the 'N' in NASA doesn't stand for 'Navy' then?




(duck and cover!!)
Actually, the agency just got a new logo to better reflect its current priorities: NASA
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #63
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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.
Hmm, sounds like you want a commando team ala SAS or SEALS...
Those units do infiltration, sabotage, hostage rescue.

The asteroid miners are in near-earth space or in the belt?
If near earth, the "newly idependent" miners might have "expropriated" their rocks from the multinational investors that paid to move them to the Lagrangian points. A big political mess would follow if the miners threaten to "throw rocks" earthward.

The unhappy investors might have orchestrated a crisis requiring a hostage rescue that "just coincidentally" will overthrow the new government. The unit might belatedly discover there are no hostages and that they are being used in a decidedly non-legal fashion and they are way out on a limb whether they carry out the mission successfuly or fail....

One advantage of such a SpecOps team is those units tend to be indepedent of the services providing their transport and might be recruiting from all the services. So the cyber specialists might come from the AF, the breakage specialists from the Marines, the sniper (you *always* have a sniper, preferably female ) from the Army, demo from the Navy, etc. That way you get different military cultures/personalities that will respond differently to the stress of the mission blowing up in their faces. Room for a few twists within twist if it turns out there are no good guys on either side, just greed fighting greed.

The structure of your team will depend on the nature of the crisis and the conflict you want to present but since western militaries tend to aspire at being a-political they are always getting dragged into politics so there will unavoidably be a political component to the mess.

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Old 10-12-2012, 06:19 PM   #64
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(Speaking of which, if anyone has ideas on where the turf wars between the various branches might occur, that would be very handy.)
In the Bars, just like always
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:27 PM   #65
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In the Bars, just like always
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That is no joke!

Maybe the heroine of your story happens to live in a reality that "Press" gangs and shanghaiing are common. Because the military at the time was a less than desirable occupation. And she was in the wrong place at the right time.

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Old 10-12-2012, 06:29 PM   #66
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And Congress!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:03 AM   #67
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Navy tends to be more self contained over time. 30 days at sea.. No problem.
Put a Jet in the air for 30 days , even with 'Air Tankers'

Spaceships are closer to Submarines. High pressure (inside<->outside )differentials limited air, difficult to go outside to fix something

Go Navy (I'm a bit biased )
That's just the argument Ringo and Travis used in their Looking Glass series.

You might want to have a look at the claws that catch baencd - as a reference look a fellow writers work.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:47 PM   #68
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You might want to have a look at the claws that catch baencd - as a reference look a fellow writers work.
VORPAL BLADE is a fun updating of the classic 50's Space Explorers adventure SF trope that begat STAR TREK. And a good reference indeed. A nice mixture of real world logic, hard SF extrapolation, and the occasional wink-and-a-nod goofiness.

(Story-wise, I like CLAWS THAT CATCH just a wee bit better. Anime Zone or not. The more Miriam Moon and Tiny, the better.)

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Old 10-13-2012, 03:50 PM   #69
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The choice is obvious: United States Marines Corps (USMC). Perhaps in conjunction with the U.S. Navy (of which they are a component).

The Marines are an agile force, designed to respond and rapidly adapt to a variety of situations. Hence their small size, compared to other branches of US military. But they can pretty much do it all. Although a longer campaign would obviously require support from other US branches.

But note I refer to US outfits. That is all I know. Not much knowledge of non-US forces.

So, based on that, I would say maybe a hybrid USMC/Navy type thing.

Perhaps you could consult with someone with some military experience?

Disclosure: My dad was a career Marine and several uncles served shorter stints in the Marines--except one who was in the Navy. I have had/have relatives in the Army. So I am perhaps just a tiny bit prejudiced. .
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:19 PM   #70
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How about some equivalent of UN Peacekeeping forces in space? Once asteroid mining, terraforming etc. becomes a reality, someone needs to make sure that all international space treaties are enforced.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:20 PM   #71
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How about some equivalent of UN Peacekeeping forces in space? Once asteroid mining, terraforming etc. becomes a reality, someone needs to make sure that all international space treaties are enforced.
UN peacekeepers are not elite combat forces.
They're glorified traffic cops, for the most part.
They've been known to go out with unloaded rifles and instructions *not* to shoot *even* if shot at. And end up as hostages, handcuffed to the radiators of their vehicles.
"Cannon fodder in space" would be an interesting story, mind you (Harry Harrison had an amusing take on the idea) but that is not the sort of troops you send to deal with a breakaway mining colony. Not unless you want their corpses as an excuse for a scorched-earth counter. (Again, another interesting story idea. But again, not a job you give to elite forces that cost a lot of time and money to train.)

Oh, and international Space Treaties will only be observed as long as nobody can actually establish a commercially-viable space operation. The moment that comes to pass... well, all treaties have opt-out clauses.

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Old 10-13-2012, 11:39 PM   #72
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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.
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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.)
Possible assignments:
- attacking / defending the space elevator, maybe sabotage v. outright attack - it would only take one missile or bomb, or maybe attack is more sophisticated (computer virus, whatever)
- VIPs (politician / CEO / ...) @ entertainment in orbit: protect / kill / rescue / defend
- medical research in orbit: bioweapons research / release, other key bio/pharma tech; defend, disrupt evil plans, etc.
- on some asteroid, of course, or the Moon, or in transit; but why?

The first objects for mining are the NEAs - near earth asteroids http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nhats.html . There are thousands, and some of them would be selected and mined before the asteroid belt proper due to the shorter travel time and/or lower "delta-v" and therefore energy requirements. You're going to have to say what they are doing with the output; it's likely building more structures in space, except for precious metals that might be returned to Earth.

A few of these - those that have earth-crossing orbits with near intersection at a convenient time - could, as mentioned above, also be used as a threat to Earth itself (or any region thereof); the idea is to use gravity to drop something very massive. Instead of "smart rocks" or "brilliant pebbles", use "stupid mountains". You can do this with hunks of the Moon, too. It's less feasible if the mass is not close to Earth - it takes a long time to move huge masses, and earth-based instruments can already track them, giving the "other side" plenty of time to react. Well-trod ground, I think, but one of these might fit in the plot - sneak a NEA mining crew onto one of these instead and start nudging it or breaking off a piece to nudge. The website above could be used to identify specific candidates in the timeframe, if wanted, for authenticity.

There probably won't be large-scale militarization of space in the next 200 years ("large battle stations") - it's very expensive, even with space elevators, and politically charged internationally - maybe a reason for a conflict in your story. But it would be developing in that timeframe, so that could be one potential part of the scenario: the events around the early attempts to gain de-facto control of space by one or more Earth gov'ts. Countries and corporations will be playing very high-stakes games of chess.

The key turf wars today are inside the Pentagon, and from there in budget appropriations in Congress (in the US). In 200 years, though, the simple trend from today is to have China as the dominant / wealthiest world power, with plenty of time and money to develop a sophisticated technology-based military.

Wikipedia seems to agree with me on much of this, and adds more. I should have looked there first
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:36 AM   #73
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In 200 years, though, the simple trend from today is to have China as the dominant / wealthiest world power, with plenty of time and money to develop a sophisticated technology-based military.
+1 to the rest.

A warning, though: I'd suggest "the simplistic trend from today is to have China as the dominant/weathiest..." might be more accurate. Both at 200 years from now and at 50.
I know the "China ascendant" narrative is popular these days (much as the "Japan Dominant" narrative was in the 80's and "communism triumphant" was in the 50's) but looking behind the facade of the narrative will quickly reveal that China (much like India) is a 200 Million strong modern nation embedded within a billion-weak medieval peasant society. (To put it bluntly.) Such a country is inherently unstable and is just as likely to turn inwards or implode into civil war as it is to dominate. For example, China is as (comparatively) resource-poor as Japan (one reason they are both looking to Lunar mining--bye-bye treaties!) so, barring a Stalin-esque population reduction, the rise of a modern coastal China is going to be constrained by its need to address the needs of inland China. For generations. In fact, its economy is already showing signs of fragility.
(Just look at its nuclear arsenal--by all reports it is smaller than India and Pakistan, about 60 warheads total. It has one smallish aircraft carrier and no planned funding for even one as big as what the russians have deployed.)
The hidden assumptions behind most "China Domination" scenarios is that population size is *only* an asset and never a constraint. And that the west will do *nothing* to counter. That is *already* demonstrably false.

Geo-political reality changes slowly, which is why France is still somewhat relevant on the world stage.

Government ruthlessness can make up for a lot of economic contraints (C.F., USSR) but in the end the fundamentals will make themselves felt and China has the absolute worst fundamentals of any potential future world power.

Moving forward 200 years, I'd suggest resource-rich modern economies like Brazil, Australia, or even South Africa are as likely as the US or Consolidated Europe as being dominant space powers and more so than China or a "Greater Italy" out-of-nowhere power.

Just my 2 cents: I'm a contrarian, okay?

PS - Do note that the first semi-credible business plan for ramping up to asteroid mining is coming from a *private* company, Planetary Resources, in the west where the surrounding economy has the resources (material, technology, and *financial*) to support such a venture. And the roadmap runs through roads no government can tread, even China, Inc.

Playing economic catchup more often leads to more catchup needs, not leap-frogging.

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Old 10-14-2012, 10:23 AM   #74
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My five cents from pop-culture:

For antiterrorist Team Work, Tom Clancy's 'Rainbow Six' and perhaps 'Ghost Recon' but latter is only under Clancy franchise, a game and a novel.

For simplistic viewpoints in marine space operations, from another game, X3:Terran Conflict.

About writing about things unknown to self (from a Finn trying to imitate 18th century gothic horror): The research is fun.

Rgds,
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:30 PM   #75
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About writing about things unknown to self (from a Finn trying to imitate 18th century gothic horror): The research is fun.

Rgds,
PainMike
Very much so.
Even if you're *not* trying to write a story about what you're researching.
Nine tmes out of ten you find that what "everybody can plainly see" is just plain *wrong*.

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