Soviet Polyus - space based 1MW CO2 laser

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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Soviet Polyus - US SDI countermeasure



The Polyus spacecraft, also known as Polus, Skif-DM, GRAU index 17F19DM, was a prototype orbital weapons platform designed to destroy SDI satellites with a megawatt carbon-dioxide laser.[1] It had a Functional Cargo Block derived from a TKS spacecraft to control its orbit and it could fire test targets to demonstrate the fire control system.

The laser chosen for the Skif spacecraft was the 1-megawatt carbon-dioxide laser, developed for the Beriev A-60 aircraft (an Il-76 flying laboratory with a combat laser). The introduction of the Energia, capable of launching about 95 tonnes into orbit, finally allowed the spacecraft to accommodate the massive laser. The massive exhaust of the carbon-dioxide laser precipitated the objective of making the laser "recoil-less". The zero-torque exhaust system (SBM) was developed to that end. Its testing in orbit meant the release of a large cloud of carbon dioxide, which would hint at the satellite's purpose. Instead, the xenon-krypton mix would be used to simultaneously test the SBM and perform an innocent experiment on Earth's ionosphere.




"25 years since the launch of the Energia-Skif complex"