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Pentagon Seeks Funding for Space-Based Missile Defense Tools

The Pentagon has requested more than $300 million for research funding for space-based missile defense tools such as lasers and particle beams as part of its FY2020 budget request. This research is needed to help protect the U.S. against foreign players with strong missile capacities.

This funding will be used in two studies. The first study is a six-month, $15 million study that will explore whether satellites affixed with lasers would be able to combat enemy missiles as they come off the launch pad.

The second study will be more in-depth exploration into space-based neutral particle beams. These particle beams operate slightly differently to lasers, which operate with their photons travelling at light speed. The space-based neutral particle beams in the study would intersect hostile missiles with streams of subatomic particles traveling close to light speed.

“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,” a senior defense official explained at a recent press conference. “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.”

To view the Department of Defense’s full FY20 budget request, click here:

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