The idea for space-based kinetic kill weapons such as the so called "Rods from God" originated with the RAND corporation in the 1950's. The Boeing Company investigated the possibility, which it called Project Thor. The idea was deemed cost-prohibitive, even by Cold War standards. In 1967 the United States and 97 other nations signed the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which put a stop to all research.The idea was apparently shelved until 2002 when the RAND corporation published "Space Weapons, Earth Wars" which raised the idea. In 2003 a US Defense Department report referenced the feasibility of launching just such a weapon system in light of technological advances. Accusations that the US was in fact working on building such a system were flatly denied.
By the year 2015 the increasing availability of launch vehicles significantly reduced the cost of satellite launches. That combined with the increase in computing power, and advances in materials science made space based weaponry much more practical. The current system was launched after the Space-Land-Air-Missile Shield (SLAMS) came online. The launch, a violation of the 1967 treaty, was hailed as the “end of strategic nuclear warfare”.
However, tensions arose between the United States and the recently formed European Federation. The US thus launched the first kinetic bombardment satellites into space. However, Europe was outraged and responded by launching her own weapons satellites armed with high-energy lasers. Cut content recovered from game files suggests that the kinetic weapons satellites were perceived by the EF as violating the SLAMS treaty, although the United States insisted they did not.
The kinetic kill vehicle launch platform consists of a satellite armed with 12 telephone pole sized Tungsten rods loaded into 12 launch tubes mounted on one end of the satellite . The satellite employs high efficiency photo-voltaic panels or "wings" to generate electricity directly from sunlight. The satellites are then placed in orbit and must be reloaded after each use, or de-orbited and a replacement launched. The current US system consists of an unknown number of such satellites, though the number is assumed to be more than one.
The rods are made of Tungsten, and on their tip is a heat shielding material, most likely reinforced Carbon-Carbon. On the back of the rods is a rocket motor, which fires once the rod has separated from the satellite. The motor powers the rod until gravity accelerates it to a speed of 36,000 feet per second, through Earth’s atmosphere, eventually smashing into the crust. The rods are twenty feet long and one foot in diameter.
This weapon resembles the "Project Zeus" in movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation and the "Orbital Strike" in video game Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, all three are high-velocity slugs launched from satellites to serve as WMD, although it seems Project Zeus is more destructive for a single slug can erase an entire city.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFe0OHet72g&t 3:30-3:40
- EndWar Trailer
- EndWar pages 344-345
- EndWar page 344 "...equipped tungsten rod...speed of nearly 36,000 feet per second... the rod was nearly twenty feet long, one foot in diameter, and it's heat-shielded nose cone... all the destructive effects of an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon... kinetic energy to destroy everything in its path..."
- Endwar Trailer
- EndWar page 345: "...swelling sphere of destruction spread from the impact... ground heaving up in torrents... sky turned black... incinerated or torn apart or buried under tons of dirt...