New York Times on the Web Forums Science
Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans
for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be
limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI
all over again?
(7161 previous messages)
- 05:47am Jul 18, 2001 EST (#7162
'AN old scheme to put swarms of tiny killer satellites in
space as a shield against ballistic missiles will get a new look
under the Pentagon's expanded missile defence program, a senior
defence official said. Although such a system is far off, the
Pentagon begins work next year on concepts for space-based "kill
vehicles" that would be tried in an experiment in space in 2005 to
2006, said Rob Snyder, executive director of the Ballistic Missile
The experiment would involve boosting a killer satellite into
space and then flying it against a target warhead, he told reporters
at a missile defence conference here yesterday.
In the experiment, the "kill vehicle" will not be stationed in
orbit, Snyder said, but in concept it would "work the same way
Brilliant Pebbles worked".
Brilliant Pebbles, a program pursued during the heyday of the
Star Wars effort and later abandoned, called for using thousands of
tiny orbiting killer satellites to attack and destroy
intercontinental missiles as they boost into space.
"The old Brilliant Pebbles constellation, depending on whether
you wanted to protect part of the world or the whole world, could
have been as many as 3,600 or 4,000 of these satellites in orbit,"
"So they would be close enough when the boost happened they could
get at it with divert capability on the vehicle," he said.
He said the experiment is a new initiative by the Pentagon's
Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation, which has been instructed by
the White House to accelerate testing and development of a broad
range of missile defences that are now banned under the 1972
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Moscow.
The new administration of President George W Bush has played down
its plans for missile defences in space, emphasising instead its
intention to develop ground, air and sea based defences against
intercontinental ballistic missiles.
But Snyder said there were advantages to using space as a
platform for missile defence systems like Brilliant Pebbles.
"There's an advantage of global interceptors in the sense that
they are always there," he said.
Bush's proposed missile defence shield received a boost last
Saturday, when an interceptor missile fired from Kwajalein Atoll in
the South Pacific hit a dummy warhead launched from Vandenberg Air
Force Base in California.
Although the test is being hailed as a success, especially after
the Pentagon had failed two out of three previous tries, the
Defence Department yesterday said it would take several months
before experts can fully assess its results.
In the meantime, the United States could come into conflict with
the ABM treaty as early as next February, when it conducts another
series of tests .................. The remarks constitute the first
specific indication of when Bush's plan to deploy a nationwide
anti-missile shield could come into conflict with the ABM treaty.'
- 05:49am Jul 18, 2001 EST (#7163
Note how difficult it is, insurance wise and statististically, to
get even ONE satellite into space.
- 07:09am Jul 18, 2001 EST (#7164
Groups of planes - precision placement flying - testing http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99991033
Handling complexity: 64m pixel screen coming soon http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99991032
- 07:14am Jul 18, 2001 EST (#7165
- 07:21am Jul 18, 2001 EST (#7166
BioWeapons: Is the US wimpish over biological weapons? Would the
world understand a more aggressive stance? Ken Alibek thinks so. He
has a unique perspective. In 1992, he blew the whistle on the Soviet
Union's Biopreparat biowarfare machine. The programme was one of the
great deceptions of the cold war because the Soviet Union had signed
a treaty banning such work. At its height, Biopreparat employed
10,000 scientists at 40 sites. Kanatjan Alibekov (Alibek's birth
name) was second-in-command at Biopreparat so his defection made him
a fabulous prize for the US. Now he's a key researcher at a major US
biodefence contractor. When Rachel Nowak caught up with him, she
found a man full of contradictions--and dire warnings Photo: Gigi
New York Times on the Web Forums Science