The Bush administration is seeking to develop a powerful ground-based laser weapon that would use beams of concentrated light to destroy enemy
satellites in orbit. The largely secret project, parts of which have been made public through Air Force budget documents submitted to Congress in
February, is part of a wide-ranging effort to develop space weapons, both defensive and offensive. No treaty or law forbids such work.
The laser research was described by federal officials who would speak only on the condition of anonymity because of the topic's political
sensitivity. The White House has recently sought to play down the issue of space arms, fearing it could become an election-year liability.
Indeed, last week Republicans and Democrats on a House Armed Services subcommittee moved unanimously to cut research money for the project in the
administration's budget for the 2007 fiscal year. While Republicans on the panel would not discuss their reasons for the action, Congressional aides
said it reflected a bipartisan consensus for moving cautiously on space weaponry, a potentially controversial issue that has yet to be much debated.
The full committee is expected to take up the budget issue today.
The laser research is far more ambitious than a previous effort by the Clinton administration nearly a decade ago to test an antisatellite laser. It
would take advantage of an optical technique that uses sensors, computers and flexible mirrors to counteract the atmospheric turbulence that seems to
make stars twinkle.
The weapon would essentially reverse that process, shooting focused beams of light upward with great clarity and force.
Though futuristic and technically challenging, the laser work is relatively inexpensive by government standards — about $20 million in 2006, with
planned increases to some $30 million by 2011 — partly because no weapons are as yet being built and partly because the work is being done at an
existing base, an unclassified government observatory called Starfire in the New Mexico desert.
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Isn't there a law pretaining that any country that does develop space weapons for ANY use will be breaching a treaty?
This would give the United States an advantage that no other country is even thinking about.
What are your thoughts about this. I can't believe that this might be in use already if the budget was already given in white paper. Amazing.
[edit on 3-5-2006 by DontTreadOnMe]