Anti-satellite test planned

Jim Whitehead (
Wed, 3 Sep 1997 10:23:45 -0400

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had an article hidden away in the middle of
the front section announcing that there was a debate going on within the
DoD about whether a ground-based laser (particle beam?) anti-satellite
weapon should be tested, hence setting off an arms race over this type of

While I firmly believe that the US should continue to extend its
technological reach by developing, testing, and improving high-tech weapon
systems, I was surprised to find out such a system actually exists. Even
more surprising was the admission that a primary reason for testing the
technology is to help is beat off other approches, which include air-based
anti-satellite lasers, and ground-based anti-satellite missiles.

I found this to be a bit disturbing because all I see in the future is
increased dependence on satellites for our basic communication
infrastructure and for air traffic control, without any rapid recovery
capability. While I suspect the military has backup communications
capability, a future war (like the Gulf War), the war could quickly affect
the home front if a significant number of satellites were knocked down.
Systems like Teledesic and Irridium would be prime targets for such an

- Jim