SDI Brilliant Pebbles

mz

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I've heard about a rocket craft hovering in a hangar and laser pointing an outside target as a systems/targeting demonstration, anybody have more info on this?
 

flateric

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Google for 'Brilliant Pebbles'

Brilliant Pebbles was a non-nuclear system of satellite-based, watermelon-sized,[21] mini-missiles designed to use a high-velocity kinetic warhead.[22] It was designed to operate in conjunction with the Brilliant Eyes sensor system and would have detected and destroyed missiles without any external guidance. The project was conceived in November 1986.[23]

John H. Nuckolls, director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1988 to 1994, described the system as “The crowning achievement of the Strategic Defense Initiative”. The technologies developed for SDI were used in numerous later projects. For example, the sensors and cameras that were developed for Brilliant Pebbles became components of the Clementine mission and SDI technologies may also have a role in future missile defense efforts.[24]

http://www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/bg748.cfm
http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/bp.htm
http://www.answers.com/topic/strategic-defense-initiative
http://www.defensetech.org/archives/001693.html
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/368/1

Though regarded as one of the most capable SDI systems, the Brilliant Pebbles program was canceled in 1994 by the BMDO.[25] However, it is being reevaluated for possible future use by the MDA.

BP ressurected as MKV - Multiple Kill Vehicle, ex-Miniature Kill Vehicle, http://www.gizmag.com/go/7888/), there was also good publication on these at AWST and Ares blog with videos.
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/aw060208p1.xml&headline=Lockheed%20and%20Raytheon%20Vie%20for%20MKV
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3A5dcd9c0a-026b-485c-a864-fbfbcb037f53
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3a450705eb-b9ef-4dcc-8424-d65a33fb635a
http://www.aviationweek.com/media/video/MKV_R_v4_FINAL.wmv

Lockheed Martin won MDA MKV development and demonstration contract.
 

flateric

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Found cool gallery of SDI-era DoD images at Spiegel site http://einestages.spiegel.de/static/topicalbumbackground/1616/ronald_skywalkers_alptraum.html
 
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when I saw the name of the thread , i thought it was some sort of a pun on Brilliant Pebbles, but it isn't. would have been more interesting though...
 

flateric

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found some nice old illustrations of BP in Livermore National Laboratory report
 

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flateric

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCVPNQhXtq8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=useVRm4eEL0
 

Triton

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Conceptual model of a ten-foot long, 350-pound Brilliant Pebble.

Source: Chapman, Gary "Smart Rocks, Brilliant Pebbles, and Genius Dust" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists November 1989 page 11.
 

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Grey Havoc

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Some details on SBI testing plans from 1987: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a214020.pdf
 

flateric

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The Rise and Fall of Brilliant Pebbles
Donald R. Baucom
Missile Defense Agency

Paper presented at “They Taught the World to Fly:The Wright Brothers and the Age of
Flight,” an International Flight Symposium Sponsored by the North Carolina First Flight
Centennial Commission, 23 October 2001
 

donnage99

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There's another similar space based interceptor project that is launched by submarines during time of conflict, the vehicle carrier would hover above the adversary nation, waiting for potential strike. does anyone knows what it is called?
 

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I’m surprised there is so little interest in Brilliant Pebbles and push to resurrect the program.

It always seemed to me like an 80’s ideas that belongs in the 2020s: clouds of small, smart cheap components, machine learning, automation, high level of decentralization. If SpaceX, Blue Origin and the crowd of other new/old space fulfill expectations to bring down launch costs dramatically, it’ll be much more affordable, and imaginable to put up the thousands of interceptor satellites needed. Miniaturization and A.I. has vastly improved, hugely so since the 80s when Brilliant Pebbles was conceived. Surely we can build much smaller, cheaper and thus populous interceptors? This has been a fashionable trend in satellite technology: SmallSats, CubeSats, Elon Musks’s humungous internet satellite constellation.
 

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skyblue said:
I’m surprised there is so little interest in Brilliant Pebbles and push to resurrect the program.

It always seemed to me like an 80’s ideas that belongs in the 2020s: clouds of small, smart cheap components, machine learning, automation, high level of decentralization. If SpaceX, Blue Origin and the crowd of other new/old space fulfill expectations to bring down launch costs dramatically, it’ll be much more affordable, and imaginable to put up the thousands of interceptor satellites needed. Miniaturization and A.I. has vastly improved, hugely so since the 80s when Brilliant Pebbles was conceived. Surely we can build much smaller, cheaper and thus populous interceptors? This has been a fashionable trend in satellite technology: SmallSats, CubeSats, Elon Musks’s humungous internet satellite constellation.


I noticed the strategic use of "if" in your scenario...

Yeah, things might be a lot cheaper in this theoretical future. But it's never going to be really cheap. Take lots of relatively cheap components and now try to integrate them all. The integration requires a lot of software effort and a lot of people looking over all of that. It's not easy. And it won't be cheap.

Plus, we don't even know if this would work. It requires a lot of spacecraft covering a lot of territory and all connected into a warning and tracking system that might not behave as advertised.
 

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