Business, Technology and Society, War Commentary Starship Troopers June 21, 2022 Rand Simberg 8 Comments The Pentagon is considering purchasing militarized Starships.
8 thoughts on “Starship Troopers”
Jerry Pournelle’s musings about applications for next-gen DC-X rocket-lifted surface to surface “intercontinental ballistic troop carriers” come to mind.
Can’t wait until the Navy get’s some of these and we have a nuclear-powered aerospace supercarrier vessel named after “Of Course I Still Love You.”
Good to have friends in high places when dealing with the FAA
Someone still has to make a decision to send help rather than make the decision not to send help.
In an operationally useful system, the Starship never lands downrange. Instead, a Dragon-derived ~80 ton entry vehicle would be delivered to the right trajectory, the Starship could change course to avoid overflight of the landing zone if needed, then land back at the launch site. This keeps valuable assets out of harm’s way and allows repeated sorties. The tactical lander would not attempt to refly but might be recovered later via conventional aircraft for refurbishment. Landers could be provisioned and stored for use, just add crew, load on a Starship, and go.
When/if the Starship launch system reaches its rapid turnaround goal, a single launch site could support ten sorties per day.
Also, for a “hot” landing zone, a Superdraco-based landing system could do the ultimate HALO insertion, where using no parachutes the Big Dragon lander would freefall at around 0.6 mach all the way to a few hundred meters and do a high gee precision landing. Yee freaking hah.
For extra style points, the propulsion module could do a Mars-style skycrane dropoff, then fly out toward the enemy and dive at them…
Militarize? You mean paint it green and put a UHF-AM radio in it?
Clearly, for such a purpose a single-stage vehicle would be preferable. Notable then SuperHeavy can be SSTO. Propellant mass 3,400 tons, unknown dry mass. Elon: mass ratio of stripped down, reduced engine Starship can get 30 to 1. With more engines for ground-launch, perhaps 25 to 1. Larger Superheavy should be even better, but at a 25 to 1 mass ratio get 136 ton dry mass. Then 3580ln(1 + 3400/(136 + 150)) = 9,150, enough for LEO as an expendable with 150 ton payload. But reusability systems mass less than 10% of dry mass. Get even reusable SSTO at 136 ton payload.
Probably no fairing either & just 3 Raptor Vacuum engines. Mass ratio of ~30 (1200 tons full, 40 tons empty) with Isp of 380. Then drop a few dozen modified Starlink satellites from empty engine bays with ~1600 Isp, MR 2. Spread out, see what’s there. Not impossible.
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