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Old December 14th 16, 11:02 PM posted to sci.space.history
David Spain
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Default The Space Race was about Power Projection - Miles O'Brien

On Monday, December 12, 2016 at 6:31:27 AM UTC-5, Stuf4 wrote:

Nuclear ICBMs are the only fielded weapon that has NEVER undergone an end-to-end test.


Well technically for a "ballistic missile" that is correct. However
historically for a non-ballistic missile or non-ballistic rocket, of
intermediate range (Thor) not true.

Prior to the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty there were a few
documented tests of nuclear devices detonated in space via rocket by the
USAF & Los Alamos in the early 1960's. See the "Starfish Prime" test series:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime



On 12/12/2016 10:00 PM, Scott M. Kozel wrote:
How would any other country know that it had a nuclear warhead when it was launched?


Point taken. There may be historical record of test objects launched as
prototype nuclear warheads that had the mass/design-shape needed for
missilery but without the required nuclear material. I can't document
that fact just now, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. In fact I'm
certain it did, quite a bit...

On Monday, December 12, 2016 at 6:31:27 AM UTC-5, Stuf4 wrote:
By simply *testing* a full-up ICBM, you would be starting a war.


No. As Scott points out without KNOWING in advance the payload is a
nuclear weapon, it is hard to tell a "full-up" ICBM from a "test
article". A missile launch of that range is not necessarily considered
by the military of the world as a hostile (as opposed to provocative)
act. And prior to the 1963 Test Ban treaty, for a "full-up" not even
illegal. It would depend on the trajectory, target and even the tactical
doctrine of a would be adversary. Lots of ICBMs with RVs (re-entry
vehicles) designed to contain a nuclear warhead but minus same have been
tested in ballistic trajectories from the west coast of the US to the
waters just off the Kwajalein Atoll. A distance of roughly 4321 nautical
miles.[1] We presumably have treaty arrangements with the inhabitants
there to permit this. Makes a difference.... This came to prominence in
the late 1960's co-incident to and independent of the Apollo program as
the USAF tested early MIRVs.

Dave

[1] https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclo...es.html?n=2243


On Monday, December 12, 2016 at 6:31:27 AM UTC-5, Stuf4 wrote:

JFK was explaining to James Webb that this was the way we test the system without starting a war.

Cite? JFK may have said that, but that would have been a
misunderstanding on his part. See above. The Air Force & Navy would beg
to differ. Also the Saturn series was never designed to be used as an
ICBM. Atlas and Titan, as a matter of expediency, yes, Saturn, no.

Dave

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