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US revives armed satellite plan

作者:钱足    发布时间:2019-03-06 12:05:00    

By Jeff Hecht The Pentagon is looking again at a program to place satellites bristling with anti-missile weapons into orbit. The program had been abandoned in 1993 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The plan is part of US efforts to develop multi-layer defences to block ballistic missiles that might be launched by “rogue states.” The most advanced technology is the ground-based interceptor tested on Sunday over the Pacific, but military analysts believe it would be more effective to target missiles during their boost phase, when their rockets make them easy targets to spot. The original project, called Brilliant Pebbles, emerged in 1987, as part of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program. The goal was to launch a fleet of 3000 to 4000 satellites which could spot ballistic missiles as they were launched. The satellites would then fire interceptors to destroy them in the boost phase, before they could deploy their nuclear warheads. The huge fleet was needed to counter the threat of a massive launch of Soviet missiles, so work stopped when the Cold War ended. Now the Bush Administration has budgeted $110 million next year for developing concepts for space- and sea-based anti-missile systems to complement the ground-based interceptors already in development. A spokesman for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization said part of the money would go to re-examine work on Brilliant Pebbles. “It may come to nothing, but we spent almost $5 billion on Brilliant Pebbles from 1987 to 1993,” he told New Scientist. An orbiting anti-missile system would not violate the existing Outer Space Treaty, which applies only to weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons. “Pebbles is less nonsensical” than other parts of the US anti-missile program, says Bob Sherman, an analyst at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington DC, but it does raise questions about the weaponisation of space. Next year’s budget also will raise spending on development of space-based laser defence against missile attack to $165 million, from about $100 million this year. “There has been no acceleration of the space-based laser program,

 

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