Fight AND Flight
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 100 18:08:59 -0700
Subject: Fight AND Flight
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: "Travis J.I. Corcoran"
Forwards getting those missiles ready to destroy the universe.
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Virtually no information was available about the military Salyuts until
recently, when access was opened up to a full-scale training model at the
Moscow Aviation Institute. Well, guess what--Salyut 3 had a machine gun.
The station had a 23 mm rapid-fire cannon mounted on the outside, along
the long axis of the station "for defence against US space-based
inspectors/interceptors". Combat engagements would have been leisurely by
Star Wars or fighter jet standards, since the only way to aim the cannon
was to point the entire station at the target, using its attitude gyros.
A periscope connected to a visor on the main control panel allowed drawing
a bead on the intended target.
As Professor Newton pointed out some years ago, if you fire a cannon in
space, you're going to end up going in the opposite direction with some
haste. While permitting one to avoid a "fight or flight" decision by
simultaneously exercising both options, it would be disconcerting to
discover that in the heat of combat you had accidentally deorbited your
battle station. So, the station was equipped with orbital maneuvering
engines which automatically fired when the cannon was blazing away to cancel
its recoil thrust.
© 2000 Peter Langston