Space Railgun
rating: 0+x
Item#: XXXX
Level4
Containment Class:
safe
Secondary Class:
{$secondary-class}
Disruption Class:
dark
Risk Class:
notice

shuttle.jpg

Space Shuttle Challenger landing with SCP-XXXX. (STS-7 - 24/6/1983)


railgun.jpg

SCP-XXXX photographed in orbit by the Foundation [REDACTED] spacecraft. (1/6/1970)

Special Containment Procedures:
uhh

  • disinfo about amateur satellite spotting
  • disinfo about the origin of some space shuttle design










Description:
SCP-XXXX refers to a robotic spacecraft, which anomalously appeared in orbit around the Earth, although it since has been recovered by the Foundation. The design of the spacecraft appears to be for the purpose of orbital bombardment or the destruction of suborbital missiles and warheads. This is concluded from the fact the spacecraft's most prominent device is an electromagnetic railgun and associated targeting equipment.

SCP-XXXX's electromagnetic railgun appears to be the main focus of the design, with most of the spacecraft having devices and components dedicated to the railgun's operation. The power management system involves 3 massive capacitor banks, standby fuel cells, and 2 radioisotope thermal generators (RTGs). Ammunition for the railgun is supplied by a complex autoloader, with a 20 round ready rack. Total ammo capacity is 100 rounds, however SCP-XXXX as recovered only contains 84 rounds of ammunition. It is unknown whether or not the missing rounds were fired or were simply never loaded.

The spacecraft contains two separate computers for guidance and targeting. Both of these computers are apparent derivatives of the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), having similar architecture and compute performance. Both computers have been disassembled and have had their RAM and ROM data dumped for examination.

SCP-XXXX is suspected to be entirely non-anomalous in function. The only unexplained component of SCP-XXXX is its railgun - the design seemingly impossible to construct with known technology. Even with ground-based examination of the railgun by Foundation researchers and engineers, it is still not known entirely how it works or operates. Further examination of the railgun is complicated by the fact the many components of the spacecraft are extremely hazardous to disassemble, due to the massive amount of charge stored within the capacitors onboard.

SCP-XXXX is marked with various Foundation symbols and emblems, despite the Foundation having no record of launching the spacecraft. Investigations of dumped compiled software code suggest that the spacecraft is a "OC-15" Foundation orbital weapons platform, with the software itself being developed in the late 1960s. At no point in the 1960s or 1950s was the Foundation seriously considering orbital weaponry, nor was there any significant incentive to do so. Additionally, the mass of the spacecraft means that the only launchers that were both accessible and capable of delivering SCP-XXXX to LEO were the American Titan series of launch vehicles. Foundation relations to the U.S., as well as the U.S.'s international doctrine, meant that the U.S. government would have never approved of any launch of an orbital weapon for Foundation purposes.

Discovery:
SCP-XXXX is concluded by the Foundation to have been discovered first by Soviet Dnestr radar systems in 1968. Initially, the USSR thought SCP-XXXX was a new and surprisingly large spy satellite, almost certainly deployed by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. However, the unusual shape and orbit of the spacecraft confused Soviet researchers. An investigatory operation was rapidly planned and scheduled by the USSR.

This plan involved Georgy Beregovoy, during the Soyuz 3 mission, partially rendezvousing with SCP-XXXX and taking pictures of the spacecraft as his Soyuz capsule flew by. This mission objective apparently succeeded during the actual Soyuz 3 mission, but the poor quality of the camera used meant that discerning the Foundation iconography present on the spacecraft was not possible.

Examination of the images by Soviet researchers caused them immense concern, as it suspected by them that this was an orbital weapon, specifically some sort of cannon intended for missile-defense. This caused an immediate panic within the Soviet military and Soviet intelligence apparatuses, as neither the launch of SCP-XXXX or any indication if its development was detected.

Tensions were building within Soviet leadership about how to handle the situation. Various strategies were proposed, including immediate destruction of SCP-XXXX through an anti-satellite missile. However, the situation was mostly resolved when the U.S. Department of Defense elected to inform the Soviets about their own independent discovery of SCP-XXXX. The USSR was initially skeptical of the U.S. DoD's report, but ultimately elected to believe the report as nearly all Soviet intelligence suggested that SCP-XXXX should not even exist, as both its launch and development would've been detected.

Given the seemingly anomalous appearance of SCP-XXXX, the Foundation was officially informed (although the Foundation had already known) of SCP-XXXX's existence. A small Foundation imaging satellite was launched in 1970, and rendezvoused with SCP-XXXX. The ensuing discovery of Foundation iconography caused the Foundation to commit a mass coverup, as any speculation that the Foundation may have independently launched an orbital weapon was deemed unacceptable by the O5 Council.

Acquisition:
Recovery of SCP-XXXX for the purposes of containment was a high priority in the 1970s and 1980s. Governmental intelligence agencies and hobbyist satellite watchers had repeatedly detected SCP-XXXX, causing info containment breaches and forcing Foundation coverup operations.

In this time period, the Foundation had repeatedly determined that there was no suitable launcher and spacecraft capable of recovering SCP-XXXX. Foundation financial and logistics concerns meant that developing its own heavy-lift launcher and recovery vehicle was entirely infeasible.

To resolve this problem, the Foundation decided to influence the U.S. Space Shuttle program, which in the early 1970s was still in the process of drafting required specifications for the Space Shuttle orbiter. Through contacts in the U.S. Air Force, the Foundation massively increased USAF interest in the Space Shuttle program, and in particular influenced the USAF to demand a much more expensive and larger orbiter design. The larger design the USAF was influenced to demand was designed to be precisely large enough for a SCP-XXXX return operation. This manipulation eventually massively ballooned the cost of the Space Shuttle program, as well as making the orbiter design significantly less reusable and practical1.

As intended by the Foundation, the Space Shuttle Orbiter as eventually finalized was theoretically able to return SCP-XXXX. This was demonstrated during STS-7, when Space Shuttle Challenger successfully returned SCP-XXXX from orbit. Strict management of information was required for the return operation. Photographs of SCP-XXXX were strictly prohibited, and any description of SCP-XXXX to Mission Control was strictly limited. The astronauts flying STS-7 were covertly amnesticizied after landing.

Following recovery, SCP-XXXX was transferred to Site-15 for examination and containment.

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