US seeks laser to shoot down satellites

The US government is conducting research into building a ground-based laser weapon that could destroy enemy satellites in orbit, the New York Times reports.

The secret project, which according to the Times was partially made public through Air Force budget documents submitted to Congress in February, would use beams of concentrated light to destroy enemy satellites in orbit.
 
The weapon is part of a wide-ranging effort to develop defensive and offensive space weapons, the Times said, citing federal officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
 
The weapon would use sensors, computers and flexible mirrors to counteract the atmospheric turbulence.
 
"The White House wants us to do space defence," a senior Pentagon official who oversees several space programmes, including the laser effort, told the Times. "We need that ability to protect our assets" in orbit.
 
But any potential weapon applications of the research, if approved, "are out there years and years and years into the future," the official said. 
 
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US seeks laser to shoot down satellites