ACCESS: Top Secret
- May 28, 2007
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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?
Brilliant Pebbles was a non-nuclear system of satellite-based, watermelon-sized, mini-missiles designed to use a high-velocity kinetic warhead. 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.
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.
Though regarded as one of the most capable SDI systems, the Brilliant Pebbles program was canceled in 1994 by the BMDO. However, it is being reevaluated for possible future use by the MDA.
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.