Fringe ‘Space Marines’ Idea Gets First Official Meeting

Posted: August 28, 2008 in 2008, Articles
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Danger Room:

Seven years ago in the Pentagon cafeteria, two sci-fi-loving Marines shared a vision: to build a Space Shuttle-like “spaceplane” that could “to instantaneously deliver Marine squads anywhere on Earth.” The two Marines, Roosevelt Lafontant and Franz Gayl, and their mildly crazy idea were the subjects of my Popular Science cover story from last year. “The whole idea still rings of science fiction, and the question is whether its proponents can corral the various technologies together to make the project possible,” I wrote.

But now the so-called Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion, or Sustain, has taken a step towards reality. Joe Rouge, director of the National Security Space Office, has scheduled the first official meeting to define Sustain’s Concept of Operations:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) capability is a potential revolutionary step in getting combat power to any point in the world in a timeframe unachievable today. The National Security Space Office (NSSO) is pleased to host a conference focusing on SUSTAIN employment options. …

The draft CONOPS responds to Service and Joint needs as well as to guidance regarding manned DoD spaceflight within the National Security Space Plan (NSSP). The CONOPS will serve to lay the foundation for a follow-on Technology Roadmap, also outlined in the NSSP, and the finalization of a SUSTAIN Initial Capabilities Document (ICD).

If that sounds to you like a lot of bureaucratic gobbledygook, you’re not alone. But every serious weapons development starts with meetings, reports and bureaucracy. For fans of future Space Marines, this is good news.

(Art: PopSci)

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