Re: Forum Archives-Chris H.

Message posted by Peter Merlin on July 27, 2010 at 9:21:46 PST:

Mike Dornheim, the senior West Coast editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, thought the Blackstar article was completely bogus. It had so many flaws that he believed it should not have been published, but he had no choice in the matter. He elected not to try to fix any of the flaws so that knowledgeable people would see them and perhaps provide appropriate feedback to the publisher. One result was Dwayne day's article in The Space review:

Dornheim, Day, and numerous others, felt that the Blackstar article was a combination of yellow journalism and junk science. With no documentation to back it up, it was no more than a collection of unverifiable anecdotes and rumors. Despite Scott's claim that “considerable evidence supports the existence of” the Blackstar system, he included no such evidence in his article. Although he admitted that “iron-clad confirmation that meets AW&ST standards has remained elusive,” he asserted (without proof) that a number of details about the project were hard facts.

He described a two-stage to orbit (TSTO) system and asserted that “the spaceplane can reach low earth orbit,” but he seemed to have no real understanding of orbital mechanics. It would have been nice to have had at least one rocket scientist review the article prior to publication

Additionally, the entire section on “adaptive optics with an integral sodium-ion-sensing laser” was not scientifically accurate. Such a system would be useful for ground-based telescopes, not the other way around.

Scott wrote, “Many sightings of both an XB-70-like carrier and a spaceplane have been reported.” Without photographic proof these are, at best, UFO reports, so we have no meaningful way of knowing what, if anything, the alleged witnesses saw. Could you really keep “observed spaceplane landings” at Hurburt, Kadena, and Holloman a secret?

The Blackstar system was allegedly so secret that top military space commanders had apparently never been “briefed-in” -- never told of the Blackstar's existence -- even though these are the warfighters who might need to employ a spaceplane in combat.” What good is an asset that cant be used?

Scott claimed an unnamed Pentagon official suggested that Blackstar was owned and operated by “a team of aerospace contractors” to provide government leaders with plausible deniability. They don't really need deniability if the system hasn't been surfaced. They can simply respond to questions with a “no comment.” Having a contractor-owned system certainly wouldn't give plausible deniability in the event that the vehicle's missions were exposed. If the missions of Blackstar included reconnaissance, satellite deployment, satellite retrieval or servicing, anti-satellite or space-to-ground weapons delivery, then government officials could hardly claim that a team of civilian contractors took such action on their own initiative.

Scott's suggestion that Blackstar was developed to provide assured access to space in the wake of the Challenger and expendable vehicle failures of 1986/1987 flies in the face of logic. Why cobble together an unproven and likely hazardous vehicle configuration from 1960s-era technology (XB-70 and X-20 DynaSoar) rather than simply fix the relatively minor (by comparison) problems with the existing space launch fleet?

In Reply to: Forum Archives-Chris H. posted by James Petty on July 25, 2010 at 23:17:31 PST:


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