Our space programs are presented as standing for the good of mankind, peaceful missions of research and exploration. But not everyone sees space as a nonviolent zone. Especially weapon developers.
10.) TP-82 Space Gun
The TP-82 was developed solely for Soviet cosmonaut survival purposes, after their capsules landed in the Siberian wilderness once their flights were over. It is a triple-barreled pistol with a removable buttstock/machete combination, presumably to fight off wolves and/or peasants. Dangerous, multi-usable and purposeful!
9.) Project Ithacus
Rapidly deploying 1,200 United States Marines anywhere around the world using an intercontinental ballistic missile could surely ruin anyone’s day. I guess that’s the point, though. Maybe if it weren’t such a massive target, or if it were actually reusable, then something like this could work.
8.) Rikhter R-23
The Rikhter R-23 was one hell of a gun. Used as the tail turret on Tupolev Tu-22 bomber aircraft and experimentally on the Salyut-3 Almaz space station, this weapon saw a bit more scenery than your average aircraft-mounted artillery. And thanks to its ability to fire 2600 rounds per minute, this turret could fuck shit up real nice.
7.) Fractional Orbital Bombardment System
The Fractional Orbital Bombardment System was a Soviet plan to bring nuclear doom to America without being caught by American forces. The scheme was to carry nuclear warheads up to space using R-36O missiles, set a target on Earth, and drop warheads on it from all the way up in orbit. By the time opposing forces would see the nuke on any sort of radar, it would be too late to react.
6.) Asteroids As Weapons
There’s something about a military having the God-like power to rope asteroids and swing them into targets on Earth that is incredibly disturbing. RAND Corporation (a government funded aerospace research agency started by Douglas Aircraft Company) concocted this doomsday plan, which is one that can stay filed under “never thinking about again.”
Suggested By: Brian, The Life of, Photo Credit: NASA
5.) The German Sun Gun
Ever try to focus sun rays through a magnifying glass as a kid and burn up leaves or terrorize small insects? No? I’m the only awful one here?
Anyways, that’s basically what Germany wanted to do to its enemies back in 1920s. Not exactly humane.
4.) The Nazi Rocket Plane To Nuke New York
Had the Silbervogel been fully developed and put into use, the Nazis would’ve had the ability to fly from Europe, nuke New York City, and continue on to a landing spot somewhere in Japan without skipping a beat. If put into use, it would’ve had the ability to carry an 8,000 pound bomb and bring World War II onto new ground.
By using a two mile launch track, rocket propulsion and perfect atmospheric conditions in the stratosphere, the Silbervogel would travel over 12,000 miles at a planned 12,000 MPH.
3.) Strategic Defense Initiative
To protect the nation from possible intercontinental missile strikes from the Soviet union, Reagan’s administration attempted to set up a network of ground, air, and spaced-based laser missile defense systems. This was called the Strategic Defense Initiative, or, more derogatorily “Star Wars.” Even though there were several developments and plans floating around regarding the program, as far as the public knows, nothing ever happened.
2.) Project Thor
When considering the price for this project, and the uh, immorality of it all, there’s no question as to why it didn’t see the light of day. Morals aside, reader DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane can explain what’s going on here.
The idea originated in the 1950’s, it gained notoriety in the 1980’s as a way around the SALT II Outer Space weapons treaties. The SALT II treaty prohibited WMDs in space, Project Thor were just “Tungsten Telephone Poles”, big, long, heavy rods of tungsten with guidance fins and targeting computers, travelling at orbital velocities.
When given an order to fire, they’d wait until the orbit lines up, a projectile would fire into the atmosphere at still-orbital velocity, using the guidance fins once in the atmosphere to stay pointed at the target, and would impact around Mach 10, creating an impact the equivalent of 120 tons of TNT.
Obviously never actually created, but only because launching them into space would have been very expensive (At $10,000 a pound to low earth orbit, each 9 ton projectile would have cost $180 Million...), as well as probably pissing off the Russians who would then have tried to create their own.
Suggested By: DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane, Photo Credit: NASA (GPS satellite shown)
1.) Lenticular Reentry Vehicle
The Lenticular Reentry Vehicle was another U.S. government “black budget” item that never had its time to shine. It was a flying saucer-like spacecraft with the power to start a nuclear World War III. Supposedly, the LRV would be carried atop an Apollo rocket 300 miles into space, then deployed on a six-week voyage of hell-raising doom, armed with four nuclear missiles.
After completing its mission, the LRV would rocket back down to Earth, deploy a multi-stage parachute and touch down on a strategically determined lakebed.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Top Photo Credit: via pics about space