Had a scan through the document, will add up some more later but heres what i have found thus far.
The PDF includes a study of a project approved by The Governing board of the National Research Council whose members were drawn from the Councils of
National Academy Sciences; Engineering; and Institute of Medicine.
The meat of the study contains a reasonably detailed report on power sources for devices such as Direct-Energy Weapons (DEWs) for use in space (lunar
or Orbital). Requirements, recommendations, and conclusions were given based upon available data using technology being researched or otherwise
deployed. Cost, maintainability, and reliability appeared to be the main concerns expressed in the report.
The defense system was to be powered in peacetime by a SP-100 space nuclear reactor. During “Battle mode” power would be generated chemically by
the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen producing high-pressure steam in order to drive turbo-generators with the resulting steam “effluent” is
released into space during battle.
PROPOSED ENERGY SOURCES
Proposed energy sources for direct-energy weapon (under alert & burst modes) included:-
- – Chemical (effective for short durations)
- – Nuclear (effective for large durations and considered the most viable)
- – Solar
- – Beaming power sourced on earth using microwaves or laser (“has not been extensively explored as a space power option but may be worthy of
The energy options mentioned in the PDF include:-
– refers to solar photovoltaic, solar-dynamic, and chemical (including magneto-hydro-dynamic [MHD])
– refers to Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs), Dynamic Isotope Power Sources (DIPS), and nuclear reactors.
A power source transmitting microwave or lasers from earth to the defense system was also discussed.
The PDF also mentioned “SDI Program were pursuing the following systems:”
- - ground based free-electron lasers (FELs);
- – space-based free-electron lasers (FELs);
- – ground based excimer lasers;
- – neutral-particle beam (NPB) systems;
- – charged particle beam (CPB) systems;
- – kinetic energy weapon (KEW) systems;
- – chemical lasers
- – radars (radio detecting and ranging systems); and
- – lidars (light detecting and ranging systems).
“The SDI Space Power Architecture System (SPAS) studies (1988) indicated that current ground-based versions of the FELs and excimer lasers required
prime power in excess of 1GWe per site”.
Reports mentions that after studying the available/existing SDI space power architecture, a comparison for evaluation was not possible. Evaluation
included cost; cost effectiveness, survivability, reliability maintainability, and operational readiness as well as not adequately “relate to the
design of complete SDI spacecraft systems”. It was also said that the proposed space-based weapon was considered too large to operate and
impractical in cost and launch, therefore major innovations were required in power systems and their components or overall energy requirements were to
The artwork showed a space station equipped with a Direct-Energy Weapon (DEW), the DEW depicted shows a free-electron laser. It was mentioned that
“such a weapon might form part of a U.S. Strategic Defense system to be used against nuclear missiles”. There was also mentioning of Kinetic
Energy Weapon (KEW). It was stated that the actual platform of weapons defense initiative may not closely resemble the system depicted in the painting
by Robert McCall (in the PDF) whose endeavor was to capture the power and essence of a potential space defense system.
The study conducted under the auspices of the Energy Engineering Board of the National Research Council examined the status and outlook of the advance
power sources for space missions. The study resulted from a request by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for an independent review relating to the
space power requirements of its Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Initial interest for the study came from the U.S. Air Force Wright Aeronautics
Laboratories at about the same time the SDI Organisation (SDIO) was being formed in the DoD. It was mentioned that the technology options were mainly
considered for their capability to provide space-based power for applications other than propulsion.
There was an appending document submitted which may be of interest, details as mentioned in the PDF:-
*Report and the study were supported by Contract No. F49620-85(or S)-C-107 from the United States Air Force to the National Academy of Sciences.
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 88-63907 ISBN 0-309-03999-1