Wednesday, May 03, 2006

U.S. Developing Satellite-Killing Lasers

The U.S. is developing a weapons system to destroy other countries' satellites, and working around the prohibition of "space-based" weapons by locating a monster laser on a "ground-based" platform, according to the New York Times.

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...

In interviews, military officials defended the laser research as prudent, given the potential need for space arms to defend American satellites against attack in the years and decades ahead. "The White House wants us to do space defense," said a senior Pentagon official who oversees many space programs, including the laser effort. "We need that ability to protect our assets" in orbit.

But some Congressional Democrats and other experts fault the research as potential fuel for an antisatellite arms race that could ultimately hurt this nation more than others because the United States relies so heavily on military satellites, which aid navigation, reconnaissance and attack warning...

At least one public-interest group has seized on the issue. Last week, the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, based in Brunswick, Me., said that if Congress approved the antisatellite money, "the barrier to weapons in space will have been destroyed."


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