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Sunday, October 21, 2007

'Hot Eagle' May Lead to Point-to-Point Dual-Use Possibilities

Major General Richard C. Zilmer has been among the advocates for the capability of Space Marines to get a squad (13 men) any where in the world in under two hours. It known as the Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) concept.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, [DARPA], launched a spaceplane program called "Hot Eagle" [Ppt] in 2006. Video 1 and 2 denote associated research by DARPA. The U.S. Marine project is called "Great Leap Forward."

Zilmer noted in U.S. Senate testimony four year ago that “this challenging requirement is projected for initial operating capability (IOC) between 2025 and 2030.” The United States Marine Corps Universal Needs Statement noted: "The Marine Corps needs a capability to transport small mission-tailored units thru space from any point on the globe to a contingency at any other point on the globe within minutes...This includes a need for flexibility, such as the ability to loiter in Low Earth Orbit to optimise the time of insertion..."

The SUSTAIN project seems quite suitable for a point-to-point commercial demonstration from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport where the Navy now operates as a neighbor. Dual-use commercial and military applications of a point-to-point suborbital space vehicle is a growing possibility.

2 comments:

Barrie said...

Hmmmm. Someone has obviously read Starship Troopers.

Hopefully this is a means by which the guvmint can be persuaded to put money into the V Prize.

Anonymous said...

The mission for this is supposed to be to get marines into a place that we don't have fly over rights to get to fast enough. So we launch this, drop into some god forsaken place, the do their mission wonderfully... and then they wait... because they can't take off again, can't get back to orbit, can't fly home... Because any system in the next 10 or 20 years will not have the capability to take off, go to orbit, re-enter, and then do it again without at least refueling. Even more so since the systems being looked at are all two stage to orbit... Do we have to predeploy a first stage, a runway or launch pad, fuel... all at the target location before we launch?

So once the marines do their job at this very important target they rushed to in 2 hours... they wait, and wait, and wait... perhaps weeks, until some more conventional asset like a chopper, plane, boat... can get them (and their vehicle) out.

In the mean time a piece of this countries most valuable high technology sits waiting for anyone to take, since now the marines are out of ammo, food, water... yeah, good plan.