The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as Star Wars, was a program first initiated on March 23, 1983 under President Ronald Reagan. The intent of this cold war program was to develop a sophisticated anti-ballistic missile system that could prevent missile attacks from other countries with things like lasers from space. Thirty billion dollars was to be invested in the program and no laser system was ever used on land or in space during the programs run. It did cause scientists to look into land based kinetic energy weapons though, which is something that the military is actively tinkering with today. We've reported on the US Navy's electromagnetic railgun and how the Navy installed a laser weapon on a ship just this year.
We haven't talked much about the advanced Chinese military programs, but it appears that they are trying to perfect capturing satellites in space! It looks like China conducted a tests last week that consisted of a maneuvering satellite that captured another satellite in space. Pentagon officials say was a significant step forward for Beijing’s space warfare program. It appears that china launched three small satellites fitted with a mechanical arms that were launched July 20 as part of a covert anti-satellite weapons development program. The three satellites - Chuangxin-3, Shiyan-7 and Shijian-15 - were said to be used “mainly for conducting scientific experiments on space maintenance technologies” when they were launched in July.
This could simple be China working on peaceful space debris mitigation technologies or it could be them working on intercepting satellites in space. Will the US and China now be entering a period of anti-satellite capabilities? If so, the US and China might be entering a Cold War era space race that reminds us of Star Wars all over again!
Just a heads up!