Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Russian Delta III SSBN launches SLBM

A launch was detected about 80nm north of Severmorsk. The Russian, American, and Czech tracking stations confirm the launch from the Delta III Borisoglebsk (K-496) at 1946 UTC.

I’m just pulling your leg….kind of. All the above is true, it just happened. The same boat that hit the USS Grayling in 1993 launched a SLBM. This time though, it was just 1. Not 16. No MIRVs. It kept going with its payload. Up. Up. …. and into the age of sail.

Solar sail.
A solar sail is a spacecraft without an engine - it is pushed along directly by light particles from the Sun, reflecting off giant mirror-like sails. Because it carries no fuel and keeps accelerating over almost unlimited distances, it is the only technology now in existence that can one day take us to the stars.

Cosmos 1 has 8 triangular sails, each 15 meters (50 feet) in length, configured around the spacecraft's body at the center. The sails will be deployed by inflatable tubes once the spacecraft is in orbit.

The spacecraft will be launched from a submerged Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. It will be carried into orbit on board a Volna rocket - a converted ICBM left over from the old Soviet arsenal.
Read all about it. Cool.

PS: Be honest: is some ways you miss the Cold War, don't you? RECCO Test #1: (see 'Viewgraph') Identify ship. "Knife in back; lip on stack; hotdog pack; it's a _____." First correct response gets a 72 hr liberty pass over any 3-day weekend.
UPDATE: In the finest traditions of the Soviet/Russian Naval service; things did not go off that well. Contact was lost shortly after lift-off. They think they found its signal in orbit but are not sure. Here is the "interesting" thing. The US Space Command states it can't find it. I hope that the thing never made orbit and the signal is a fluke, or that there is some OPSEC thing going on here; because if a clapped out Russian SSBN can launch a clapped out SLBM from a know location at a known time on a know trajectory and we cannot track it..... Well, you do the math.

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