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A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

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Valipac
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A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Valipac » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:31 am

The purpose of this thread is to inform people on what is, and what is not, acceptable use of satellites within an MT setting.

Q. "Can I use satellites to locate an enemy fleet?"
A. Yes. You can use a satellite to locate an enemy fleet, either via radar or optics. It is, however, a difficult process, as a satellite will only stay over the same area for roughly 2-6 minutes (depending on how directly overhead it flies), and it might not find a smaller fleet, or one with a reduced RCS. It also assumes that the weather is perfect, as clouds will obscure the ability to conduct surveillance. Synthetic Aperture Radar can see through clouds, but it is used for imaging, not detection.

Q. "Now my satellite, it stays in the same place and tracks enemy movements, right?"
A. Unlikely. Yes, it is possible to have a geosynchronous satellite. However, these will be virtually useless when it comes to tracking an enemies movements, as the enemy will quickly go out of scope. Furthermore, they can not "follow" the fleet. If they are geosynchronous, they don't move, plain and simple. Cost-effective wise, however, it is not worth having a gesynchronous observation satellite, as it costs much more money to hold a satellite in place than to allow it to orbit naturally.

Q. "Can I glean targeting data from my satellites?"
A. Yes and no. Yes, you can gain GPS data from your satellites if they happen to catch, for example, an enemy fleet. However, that enemy fleet is moving, and by the time the missiles are launched, the GPS targeting data is outdated. By the time the missiles arrive at the locations their targets are supposed to be at, the ships are long gone. The same would go for armored formations on land. This would be effective against bunkers or buildings, however, as those do not move.

Q. "I have a satellite over your fleet! I can see everything, right?"
A. Not so fast sonny. Satellites, just like any other piece of transmitting equipment, can be jammed. Just as Iran jammed BBC-Persia from transmitting with their satellite, so can another nation jam your satellite. Different types of jamming can do different things, such as stop the satellite from transmitting entirely, or returning falsified results to the satellite. Similarly, poor weather can hinder optical reconaissance, and reduced RCS ships can be harder to detect on satellite radar units. And once that satellite passes, it will be ~1.5 hours before it will be over the same area again, when you would get another chance (assuming the fleet, or whatever you're tracking, hasn't moved).

Q. "Enough about surveillance, tell me more about warfare. I can level your capital using god rods, right?"
A. Silly you, surveillance is an integral part of warfare. Once again though, wrong. God rods will level whatever building they hit - outside of that, they will not do much damage. In the words of a friend, "Energy density of "godrod" ranges between 2 times and theoretical maximum of 8 times TNT, with typical number of 4-4.5 times TNT, corresponding to 6km/s reentry velocity. In other words, it's about 2.5-3 times better than pure modern explosive, or 4 times better than conventional bomb, per ton of weight. It's not to mention that "godrod" doesn't really work as high explosive, and only deals damage through the material it touches. In military terms it is similar to lacking brisance. Specifically, it doesn't actually explode with gases, only throws material around. It's essentially throwing rocks into the ground, and, in both cases, most energy just goes into the ground."

Q. "Well since I'm shooting them from space, I can just launch tons of them at your capital without having to risk bombers."
A. Sorry, but no. The cost of a god-rod is immense. Not only does one cost roughly 10 million dollars per ton, but you also have to account for getting it into space. The largest satellites cost 500 million dollars to launch into space. Expect this to cost more, and you'd probably have to take it up in multiple launches. Godrods are far from cheap, and as such should be used sparingly, if at all.

Q. "Well can't I take out just the building I want, assassination style?"
A. They don't work like that. You can't "guide" a falling rod of tungsten, so it's pretty much going to do what it wants. You won't get a CEP (circular error probability) of higher than 500 feet (pretty common for an ICBM) with one, which means that 50% of the time your god rod will hit within 500 feet of the target. Not exactly a precision strike.

Q. "Well at least I know that I can shoot it in the ocean, and create a tsunami that will capsize your ships, right?"
A. And you're wrong again. It would take a meteor roughly 300m across to throw up a tidal wave capable of substantial damage, but you have to understand that all of that would be coastal damage. A tidal wave runs along the ocean floor, and would barely protrude above the surface (if at all) where most navies would be located. It is not until the ocean shallows in coastal areas that a tsunami raises above the ocean in a manner that causes immense destruction.

Q. "Your nation relies on satellites for observation and communication. So if I just shoot them all down and you will be blind and mute! There's nothing stopping me, or is there?"
A. Ah yes, this is where we come to one of the unfortunate realities of space warfare. You see, orbital space, even in NS, is not unlimited. And it has been filled with thousands and thousands of pieces of debris, sometimes referred to as space junk. Now, you might find this irrelevant, but when these pieces of junk hit a satellite, the satellite goes down, and becomes junk itself. If you were to simultaneously destroy an entire enemies satellite network (given the advanced networks NS nations are prone to have), you would create a Kessler Syndrome, which would render space unusable for generations, even to yourself (and in the process, have ZMI and Izistan, two of the scariest nations in RP, declare war on you for doing such). Shooting down a single satellite isn't bad, but shooting down hundreds of them is. In other words, surgical strikes to deny an enemy satellite recon over a certain area = good. Indiscriminate attack on entire enemy satellite network = very very bad.

Q. "Can I use nuclear ASAT missiles?"
A. Not without extreme consequences. Using a nuke as an ASAT weapon would serve as an EMP for anything below. For real life examples, look at the Hardtack Teak test and the Starfish Prime test, both of which had very negative consequences as far as EMPs are concerned.

If I think of anything else, I'll add it later. Hope it helps.
Last edited by Valipac on Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby First Commonwealth » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:38 am

Thanks; good job Valipac. I'll favourite this on my PC for use on a later date.

Would I be able to launch cheap 'suicide-sats' up for use during warfare? For example, a suicide-sat could come crashing down on an enemy division. I got the idea from Red Alert 3; though Red Alert being Red Alert, I expect this is unrealistic, yesno?
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Akimonad » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:38 am

Bout time someone wrote something about satellites for a change.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Akimonad » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:46 am

First Commonwealth wrote:Would I be able to launch cheap 'suicide-sats' up for use during warfare? For example, a suicide-sat could come crashing down on an enemy division. I got the idea from Red Alert 3; though Red Alert being Red Alert, I expect this is unrealistic, yesno?


It would burn up in the atmosphere most likely. And even if parts of it survived it wouldn't have tremendous effect.

Bullets are much cheaper and more effective. I would look into those. :p
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Freidlichen » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:51 am

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby First Commonwealth » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:51 am

Akimonad wrote:
First Commonwealth wrote:Would I be able to launch cheap 'suicide-sats' up for use during warfare? For example, a suicide-sat could come crashing down on an enemy division. I got the idea from Red Alert 3; though Red Alert being Red Alert, I expect this is unrealistic, yesno?


It would burn up in the atmosphere most likely. And even if parts of it survived it wouldn't have tremendous effect.

Bullets are much cheaper and more effective. I would look into those. :p


Oh well.

And yes, bullets are quite effective. Especially that of an AKM. Yesno? :p
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Clamparapa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:53 am

:clap: I applaud you my good sir! A question though, what would your tutorial have to say about satellite-borne offensive and defensive lasers?

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Border Guards » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:01 am

Good job writing this. It's very helpful. :bow:
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Valipac » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:03 am

Clamparapa wrote::clap: I applaud you my good sir! A question though, what would your tutorial have to say about satellite-borne offensive and defensive lasers?

Applicable in PMT settings, not in MT. I'll add something about this later.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Clamparapa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:04 am

I'm actually PMT+15-20 years in most RPs, although my factfile is written with PMT + 70 in mind.

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Takaram » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:33 am

I'm curious. Couldn't you attach fins and a guidance computer to compensate for the lack of accuracy?

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Valipac » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:20 am

Clamparapa wrote:I'm actually PMT+15-20 years in most RPs, although my factfile is written with PMT + 70 in mind.

Then you could probably use lasers on satellites, they are projected to become available in 2030.
Takaram wrote:I'm curious. Couldn't you attach fins and a guidance computer to compensate for the lack of accuracy?

Aye, that's what modern ICBMs do (with MARVs as opposed to MIRVs). This thing is larger, heavier, and faster - you'd get some accuracy, but that's why you'd get the CEP I listed - otherwise you're looking at a CEP of over 1000 feet. The real question is, why even bother, when cheaper, more accurate, and more powerful alternatives exist.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Otagia » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:29 am

Clamparapa wrote::clap: I applaud you my good sir! A question though, what would your tutorial have to say about satellite-borne offensive and defensive lasers?

A quick note about this: While space-to-space lasers are indeed possible, attempting to target anything in the atmosphere will fail epically.

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Kroando » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:43 am

Despite our past differences, I think this is a very useful synopsis of satellite usage in warfare, a good bit of it being new to me. It is also rather compact, and more likely to get its message across.

You mentioned the Kessler syndrome towards the end, but it rarely seems like anyone pays attention - or basically ignores satellite destruction. Even those who you mentioned who have commonly said they will punish those causing a Kessler syndrome rarely do so (not their fault, it is just far too common). Perhaps a thread should be made to document all Kessler Syndrome-type activity, making it more difficult to ignore.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Jeuna » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:45 am

Synthetic aperture radar: how does I not see moving objects? ~<3

There's a reason it's used for mapping terrain.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Allied Governments » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:58 am

Sadly, when dealing with NS you have to allow a certain deal of unrealism, Game and Sci-Fi representations hold just as much sway here as Reality, not saying that realism is bad, but if you delve TOO deeply into it this becomes something you'd see on the Evening News.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby The North Papal States » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:21 pm

I have two questions.

Firstly, given that most fleets don't wildly fluctuate in speed and location, isn't it possible to calculate the speed of a hostile fleet and project where it will be by the time your missiles start raining from the sky?

Secondly, couldn't a Kessler syndrome scenario be avoided by either pushing sattellites out of their orbits, thereby essentially making them worthless, or obliterating them entirely through the use of nuclear weapons?

Obviously the latter would result in diplomatic sanctions, among other annoying things, but the former should be able to work. A compressed air or gauss weapon could smash right into a sattelite, doing only minimal damage, but pushing the thing straight into the planet. Or into deep space. Whichever floats your boat.

In any case, good guide. It's pretty succinct, and should help newbies such as myself.

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Valipac » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:49 pm

Allied Governments wrote:Sadly, when dealing with NS you have to allow a certain deal of unrealism, Game and Sci-Fi representations hold just as much sway here as Reality, not saying that realism is bad, but if you delve TOO deeply into it this becomes something you'd see on the Evening News.

I disagree, but that's a different subject and I'd rather not delve into it here.
The North Papal States wrote:I have two questions.

Firstly, given that most fleets don't wildly fluctuate in speed and location, isn't it possible to calculate the speed of a hostile fleet and project where it will be by the time your missiles start raining from the sky?

Assuming you had correct data returned, yes, you could make a good /estimate/. However, an estimate isn't going to get you anywhere when it comes to targeting a GPS guided missile. It's much better to use radar locks obtained via AEW&C planes.
The North Papal States wrote:Secondly, couldn't a Kessler syndrome scenario be avoided by either pushing sattellites out of their orbits, thereby essentially making them worthless, or obliterating them entirely through the use of nuclear weapons?

Obviously the latter would result in diplomatic sanctions, among other annoying things, but the former should be able to work. A compressed air or gauss weapon could smash right into a sattelite, doing only minimal damage, but pushing the thing straight into the planet. Or into deep space. Whichever floats your boat.

First one is in use already, many satellites now have a boost function that they activate when they have completed their service life. During this phase they move to a "graveyard orbit" (check it on wiki). As far as forcing them to do that in a ASAT standpoint, it's relatively impossible, they have to do it themselves.

Second one I'm unsure of really, but it may have unintended side effects (unsure as to whether it would cause an EMP effect, need to check that), one of which could end up with your nation as plateglass.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby First Commonwealth » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:19 pm

Allied Governments wrote:Sadly, when dealing with NS you have to allow a certain deal of unrealism, Game and Sci-Fi representations hold just as much sway here as Reality, not saying that realism is bad, but if you delve TOO deeply into it this becomes something you'd see on the Evening News.


I try to keep as realistic as possible; all this science-fiction and fantasy crap I'm seeing in MT is, simply, annoying.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Czardas » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:38 pm

Allied Governments wrote:Sadly, when dealing with NS you have to allow a certain deal of unrealism, Game and Sci-Fi representations hold just as much sway here as Reality, not saying that realism is bad, but if you delve TOO deeply into it this becomes something you'd see on the Evening News.

Not really. If you delve too deeply into realism, you just have a realistic nation. I find that preferable to having a non-realistic one in most cases.

Valipac wrote:A. Not so fast sonny. Satellites, just like any other piece of transmitting equipment, can be jammed. Just as Iran jammed BBC-Persia from transmitting with their satellite, so can another nation jam your satellite. Different types of jamming can do different things, such as stop the satellite from transmitting entirely, or returning falsified results to the satellite.

I've never seen people go into much detail about the various types of jamming. They just say "We're jamming your radar/satellite/sonar, you can't detect/see/hear anything", but apparently without the knowledge of exactly how jamming works (for instance, claiming the jamming makes them undetectable, in spite of such radical inventions as frequency-hopping radars and home-on-jam). The forum would appreciate a short treatise on how electronics work, I'd imagine.

Also, I'm awfully glad II's gotten over the whole ortillery fad now. They were probably even more irritating than supercapitals.

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Shinkadomayaka » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:40 pm

The North Papal States wrote:I have two questions.

Secondly, couldn't a Kessler syndrome scenario be avoided by either pushing sattellites out of their orbits, thereby essentially making them worthless, or obliterating them entirely through the use of nuclear weapons?

Obviously the latter would result in diplomatic sanctions, among other annoying things, but the former should be able to work. A compressed air or gauss weapon could smash right into a sattelite, doing only minimal damage, but pushing the thing straight into the planet. Or into deep space. Whichever floats your boat.

In any case, good guide. It's pretty succinct, and should help newbies such as myself.



Not sure about the first one, but nukes tend to have large blast radius'. I mean some can wipe out entire countries, so you would be pretty much guarrenteed to take out a lot more than one sattelite. And with the cost of nuclear weapons, it would be extremely expensive to produce them in large enough numbers then get them out there and to hit the target in enough numbers to have enough effect to actually be worth anything.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Allied Governments » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:41 pm

Shinkadomayaka wrote:
The North Papal States wrote:I have two questions.

Secondly, couldn't a Kessler syndrome scenario be avoided by either pushing sattellites out of their orbits, thereby essentially making them worthless, or obliterating them entirely through the use of nuclear weapons?

Obviously the latter would result in diplomatic sanctions, among other annoying things, but the former should be able to work. A compressed air or gauss weapon could smash right into a sattelite, doing only minimal damage, but pushing the thing straight into the planet. Or into deep space. Whichever floats your boat.

In any case, good guide. It's pretty succinct, and should help newbies such as myself.



Not sure about the first one, but nukes tend to have large blast radius'. I mean some can wipe out entire countries, so you would be pretty much guarrenteed to take out a lot more than one sattelite. And with the cost of nuclear weapons, it would be extremely expensive to produce them in large enough numbers then get them out there and to hit the target in enough numbers to have enough effect to actually be worth anything.


The destructive power of Nuclear Bombs are actually largely a result of the fact they are being used on a planet. If you use them in space their destructive potential is only some miles, rather then the Country Killers you make them out to be.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby The Grand World Order » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:58 pm

Couldn't a nation supposedly blow out areas of space junk using nuclear weapons to avoid Kessler Syndrome? Some junk would be vaporized, while others would be forced out of LEO.
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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Bullucks » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:08 pm

The Grand World Order wrote:Couldn't a nation supposedly blow out areas of space junk using nuclear weapons to avoid Kessler Syndrome? Some junk would be vaporized, while others would be forced out of LEO.

You'd probably destroy/damage/render unusable a large number of satellites in the process as well.

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Re: A quick brief on satellites [MT; OOC]

Postby Valipac » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:27 pm

The Grand World Order wrote:Couldn't a nation supposedly blow out areas of space junk using nuclear weapons to avoid Kessler Syndrome? Some junk would be vaporized, while others would be forced out of LEO.

I just checked, and doing so would create an EMP blast that would knock out electronics within over 1500 miles of the blast. If it was over your nation, great job, and if it was over someone else's, have fun getting nuked. And I'm not sure that that would work anyways. Bulluck's right anyways - all the good satellites in the area would be lost as well. The best way to reduce junk is with a laser broom, technology that notably does not exist now.
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