Thursday, January 19, 2006

Classified Military Information

I recently came across the United States Military's Joint Doctrine for Space Operations [pdf]. Now, I know that the military spends tons of money on research, but I would have figured that something like a warp drive would be at least somewhat classified. However, Appendix F - Orbital Characteristics - seems to show that US sattelites in low earth, medium earth, highly elliptical and polar orbits jump into warp-space between certian points on Earth. Below is a picture from the Joint Doctrine regarding polar orbit:

You will notice how the red trace of the satellite over Earth's surface extends off the globe into the mysterious black area, and, in fact, often leaves or enters Earth's space nowhere near the poles. At those points we see the satellite skipping out of normal space and warping over to the next spot.
As cool as that might be, I think the real explanation of this is much more rational. If you look at Yoni's site on satellite tracking, you'll see that the orbital paths of polar-orbiting satellites look roughly like the red line in the Doctrine. The problem is the map projection. They should have used something like the Mercator or the geographic projection, but instead used some sort of pseudocylidrical projection thing. Thus, overlaying an actual satellite track on top of a random clip art of the Earth led to a highly suspect and non-accurate picture. In any case, we can rest assured that although physics has yet to allow for a warp drive, the military's graphic artists are boldly leading the way into the future.


  1. We are at the point where we know what we do know and know what we don’t, but do not know for sure if faster than light travel is possible.

    And these are the people we trust to launch our probes. The wrong measurement system, pfft. They were probably just testing their "Anti-Gravity Propulsion Thingy" and "Perpetual Motion Drive"

    At least they no longer send people up there.

  2. Hmm... this explains why sometimes people's cellphone reception mysteriously goes down. It must be when the satellites are in one of the black hyperspace regions on the map.