Ex Post Human
Project MENHADEN AURORA:
This is the codename given to the EA research program with the goal of investigating the hypothesized exotic propulsion system (codenamed DIAMOND ARM) used by the Vandenberg Bus.
The immediate goal of this effort is to answer several major questions about the Bus and DIAMOND ARM:
- Is DIAMOND ARM real? Does the Vandenburg Bus indeed use a reactionless engine? Are there any other explanations for what has been observed so far?
- If DIAMOND ARM is real, why does it work? What is the fundamental physical principle behind it? Does it require some form of “unobtainium” (i.e. negative matter) to function? If so, how much?
- If DIAMOND ARM is real, how does it work? What are the general design features of the actual engine? What are its performance parameters? How do the theorized characteristics and performance of the device compare with observations?
MENHADEN AURORA has two primary aspects:
- Empirical investigation of DIAMOND ARM, via observation (i.e. MASINT collection) of the Vandenberg Bus.
- Theoretical and (possibly) experimental physics work.
Empirical observations would allow for validation and assessment of theory. Theoretical considerations inform many aspects of the empirical effort – for instance, MASINT sensor selection.
Several candidate theories – each postulating a type of reactionless engine based on some novel physics – have been identified. There is, however, no guarantee that any of these proposals actually correctly describe DIAMOND ARM. These theories predict what would be observed in the vicinity of an operating engine, which determines the type and characteristics of the MASINT sensors.
The observation program involves the use of two types of sensor platforms. The first type would be relatively conventional surveillance satellites, deployed in orbits that would give them good coverage of (that is, frequent passes over) the Vandenberg area. They are intended to observe the activity of the Vandenberg Bus and determine if there is any schedule or pattern by which its movements might be predicted.
The second type of sensor platforms carry MASINT sensor payloads designed to make the actual scientific observations that will hopefully allow the nature of DIAMOND ARM to be determined.
Both types of platforms are designed for low observability – ideally, no one will be aware of their presence.
A common vehicle design (i.e. power, propulsion, structure, low-observability design features, communication, etc.) would be used for both types of platforms – only the sensors, carried in a modular payload bay, would differ. The MASINT sensor modules would be rather expensive, however, limiting the number of MASINT platforms that could be deployed.
The intention is that the observations made by the surveillance satellites can guide deployment of the MASINT satellites. For instance, if the surveillance satellites were to determine that the Vandenburg Bus generally operates on a regular route and according to a fixed schedule, the MASINT satellites could be placed in orbits that would have them passing close to the predicted position of the Bus at a particular time, giving them an opportunity to make close-range observations.
The satellite-based intelligence-gathering effort has been designated Project BOOBY HATCH. The satellites (that is, the actual vehicles) are designated V/OS-1. The platforms carrying the (mainly opto-electronic) surveillance/observation sensors are referred to as “surveillance birds,” while the ones carrying the MASINT payloads are referred to as “MASINT birds.”