SDI (Star Wars) v2.0 - Neutral Particle Beam Weapon Redux


Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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New and improved! Seriously.

Pentagon Wants to Test A Space-Based Weapon in 2023
14 Mar 2019

Defense officials want to test a neutral particle-beam in orbit in fiscal 2023 as part of a ramped-up effort to explore various types of space-based weaponry. They’ve asked for (and received - W) $304 million in the 2020 budget to develop such beams, more powerful lasers, and other new tech for next-generation missile defense. Such weapons are needed, they say, to counter new missiles from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. But just figuring out what might work is a difficult technical challenge.

So the Pentagon is undertaking two studies. The first is a $15 million exploration of whether satellites outfitted with lasers might be able to disable enemy missiles coming off the launch pad. Defense officials have said previously that these lasers would need to be in the megawatt class. They expect to finish the study within six months.

They’re also pouring money into a study of space-based neutral particle beams, a different form of directed energy that disrupts missiles with streams of subatomic particles traveling close to light speed — as opposed to lasers, whose photons travel at light speed.

On Wednesday, officials speaking to reporters at the Pentagon voiced guarded confidence that they would result in something that would in fact be deployable.

It’s not the first time that the Department has looked at such weapons. In 1989, the U.S. launched a neutral particle beam into space, as part of an experiment called BEAR, for Beam Accelerator Aboard a Rocket.

The experiment report described it as modestly successful: “The BEAR flight has demonstrated that accelerator technology can be adapted to a space environment. This first operation of an [neutral particle beam] accelerator in space uncovered no unexpected physics.”

But there’s a big difference between a successful experiment and an affordably deployable weapon. As part of the earlier effort, several companies produced prototype designs. The weapons they sketched were enormous. One was 72 feet long.

On Wednesday, Defense officials said that advances in technology have brought down the potential size and cost of space-based particle beams.

“We’ve come a long way in terms of the technology we use today to where a full, all-up system wouldn’t be the size of three of these conference rooms, right? We now believe we can get it down to a package that we can put on as part of a payload to be placed on orbit,” said a senior defense official. “Power generation, beam formation, the accelerometer that’s required to get there and what it takes to neutralize that beam, that capability has been matured and there are technologies that we can use today to miniaturize.”

Officials, however, stress that the explorative studies do not necessarily mean that the Department will actually deploy a weapon. “I can’t say that it is going to be at a space and weight requirement that’s going to actually be feasible, but we’re pushing forward with the prototyping and demo,” said an official. The exploration, according to the official, “means we need to understand as a Department, the costs and what it would take to go do that. There’s a lot of folklore…that says it’s either crazy expensive or that it’s free. It needs to be a definitive study.”

‘Star Wars’ Beam Weapon Has Successful Space Test
18 July 1989

“The particle beam worked perfectly. That’s a major engineering achievement,” Air Force Col. Thomas Meyer, director of SDI’s energy office, said at a Pentagon news conference Monday.

The 24-foot, 3,500-pound beam accelerator was launched to an altitude of 125 miles on a Minuteman 2 rocket. It was the first time that the device had been tested in space.

The accelerator creates an energized beam of hydrogen atoms carrying no electrical charge. SDI scientists explained that the beam is created by powerful accelerators propelling negative atoms that are stripped of their extra electron as the beam emerges from the device at nearly the speed of light.

Meyer said that the beam does not burn through metal but rather penetrates the warhead and then releases its energy. “We call them proton torpedoes,” he said.

Spots Decoys

The weapon is designed to distinguish between nuclear warheads and decoys by estimating their weight based on the resistance encountered by the beam, officials said. The beam can also be used to destroy warheads by disrupting their electrical and guidance systems.

The SDI program spent $60 million on the test, known as Beam Experiment Aboard Rocket or BEAR. The Pentagon is spending $100 million on the entire beam program this year.

The Pentagon said that the test complied with the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which bans most missile defense systems.

A Linear Accelerator in Space - the Beam Experiment Aboard Rocket

The BEAR Accelerator

BEAR Final Report

This low power neutral particle beam (NPB) accelerator developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory was one of several directed energy weapons investigated by the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization for possible use in missile defense. As part of the Beam Experiments Aboard Rocket project, it was launched from White Sands in July 1989 to an altitude of 200 kilometers (124 miles), operated successfully in space, and after reentry was recovered intact. The test's goals included determining NPB propagation characteristics in space and the effects on spacecraft components. Although research continued into NPBs, no deployed weapon has ever employed this technology:




Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Global Mod
Jan 5, 2009
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Alliance, Ohio
I love this: "...Although research continued into NPBs, no deployed weapon has ever employed this technology:"

That we know of.

Who knows what DOD has put into orbit? They sure aren't going to tell you that we have top secret friken lasers.