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Comment: Re:After working missile defense for years... (Score 4, Interesting) 470

by gatkinso (#48015747) Attached to: The Physics of Space Battles

Well, it is hard to say about that. Ship to ship combat in space would probably be carried out by drones. The fragile meat bags inside would never survive the acceleration.

I sat in a radar site in Hawaii at PMRF staring at a screen during the tests I supported. A target missile was launched from a pad a few miles away (you sure as hell could hear and feel THAT!) and the intercepting ship (as in a US Navy guided missile cruiser, not a space ship) was a couple of hundred miles away. The launches I witnessed... in under a second the target was through the clouds and five seconds later was gone leaving just a trail. The interceptor makes the target look like an old lady trying to out sprint Usain Bolt (I am told it would be supersonic before it leaves the launch tube on the ship... but I never saw a ship launch but every sailor I talked to who did said it was very impressive for the brief moment they got to experience it - from inside the ship.)

Other than that there was nothing to see. The intercept itself was over the horizon, so it had to be "viewed" from an aircraft.

Comment: After working missile defense for years... (Score 3, Informative) 470

by gatkinso (#48014293) Attached to: The Physics of Space Battles

...I can tell you another thing about space battles: you don't see anything aside from a few tracks on a computer screen. If you have a telescope pointed in the right direction at the exact right time you see a very unimpressive and quick flash.

The ranges, timing, and velocities involved are far too great for human perception.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.