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Space


Project Spike

During the 1970s, SAMSO began to develop a concept for a follow-on antisatellite weapon system that would not use nuclear warheads. The weapon was actually developed in two successive, related efforts. The first effort was known as Project Spike. It involved launching a two-stage missile from an F-106 aircraft. The missile would release a terminal homing vehicle guided by solid rocket motors on a trajectory to intercept the selected satellite, which it would destroy by impact.

The two contractors involved in Project Spike, General Dynamics and Ling-TEMCO-Vought (LTV), designed very different miniature homing vehicles. General Dynamics' vehicle was known as the Gimbaled Miniature Vehicle. LTV's vehicle ultimately became the concept for the later Air-launched ASAT. The vehicles were designed to be launched from an F-106 fighter using a standard Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) under the wing of an F-106 above. Both were designed to destroy a satellite by impact. The many thrusters on both vehicles were necessary to balance them and adjust their trajectories in flight.

The program conducted a static flight test with the ARM missile, fitted with a dummy payload representing the homing vehicle, mounted on a special rack on the F-106.

Project Spike did not enter the development stage, but its technology and design provided the basis for a later antisatellite development program known as the Air-launched ASAT, which SAMSO began to develop in 1976. 4 Like Project Spike, the Air-launched ASAT employed a miniature homing vehicle propelled into space by an air-launched two-stage missile, although in this case the missile was released from an F-15 fighter.



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