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SDI : Nuclear bomb pumped X-Ray Laser

moin1900

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Hi everybody

Here a very strange project !
The Nuclear bomb pumped Laser
Project: EXCALIBUR
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excalibur
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x.html
http://datenratte.blogspot.com/2008/10/x-ray-laser.html
http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/sdi.html
Maybe someone have some better drawings, pictures,
concept arts etc. of this project ?

Many greetings and Thanks a lot for every reply
 

Michel Van

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Oh boy not that again

The X-ray laser is one of strangest Weapon development programs of our time
brainchild of Edward Teller (the guy claim he developed the H-bomb)

he proposed Ronald Reagan the use of H-bomb as Deathray weapon aka the bomb-pumped laser.

the Idea is simple take a H-bomb warp allot Copper cable around and also warp cupper tube in it !
catapult that "Spools of thread" into space and Nuke it
during the nanoseconds were "Spools of thread" vaporise
the Plasma will produce at long axe of copper tube a X-ray Laser impulse

after some sources
the DoD made 25 Nuclear test to prove the concept
the Concept was prove, but with a little problem
the X-ray Laser impulse was not like a Deathray, more like a electric torches ::)

another problem was use of nuclear weapon in Space
see Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Ballistic_Missile_Treaty
there was the Ideas to use U-boats SLBM Trident rockets for it

Maybe someone have some better drawings, pictures, concept arts etc. of this project ?
of one most top secrets Weapon programs of all time ?

mabye this help you
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x.html#laser
scroll down to the bomb-pumped laser.
 

sferrin

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Michel Van said:
Oh boy not that again

The X-ray laser is one of strangest Weapon development programs of our time
brainchild of Edward Teller (the guy claim he developed the H-bomb)

he proposed Ronald Reagan the use of H-bomb as Deathray weapon aka the bomb-pumped laser.

the Idea is simple take a H-bomb warp allot Copper cable around and also warp cupper tube in it !
catapult that "Spools of thread" into space and Nuke it
during the nanoseconds were "Spools of thread" vaporise
the Plasma will produce at long axe of copper tube a X-ray Laser impulse

after some sources
the DoD made 25 Nuclear test to prove the concept
the Concept was prove, but with a little problem
the X-ray Laser impulse was not like a Deathray, more like a electric torches ::)

another problem was use of nuclear weapon in Space
see Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Ballistic_Missile_Treaty
there was the Ideas to use U-boats SLBM Trident rockets for it

Maybe someone have some better drawings, pictures, concept arts etc. of this project ?
of one most top secrets Weapon programs of all time ?

mabye this help you
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x.html#laser
scroll down to the bomb-pumped laser.

That's a science fiction site. Not one I'd rely on for factual info ;) If you want more detail on the internal politics and goings on of the X-ray laser program I'd recommend this book. Haven't read it in nearly 20 years but as I recall the head genius behind it saw the potential medical uses of the x-ray laser (drasticly lower powered obviously) and said essentially "screw this, I'm tired of weapons" and bailed.

http://www.amazon.com/Star-Warriors-P-William-Broad/dp/0671628208/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228681917&sr=1-1
 

XP67_Moonbat

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"Take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure!" B)

Moonbat
 

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flateric

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sferrin said:
http://www.amazon.com/Star-Warriors-P-William-Broad/dp/0671628208/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228681917&sr=1-1

Well, it's a *book*. Selected chapters were even published in Soviet Union ca.1986 as a part of book of anti-SDI thematics.
 

OM

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...if there was one thing to be said about the X-Ray Nuke Laser proposals, it gave Marvel Comics a loophole to keep the origin of the Incredible Hulk relatively intact in an era where atmospheric nuclear testing is a big no-no. The Gamma Bomb was actually a ground-based Gamma Ray Laser that went a bit haywire when it fired, and went KERBLOOIE instead of Kerplunk.
 

TomS

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sferrin said:
Michel Van said:
mabye this help you
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x.html#laser
scroll down to the bomb-pumped laser.

That's a science fiction site. Not one I'd rely on for factual info ;)

Actually, the Atomic Rockets (projectrho.com) site isn't science fiction at all. It's a site designed to explain the real science issues involved in typical science fictional space travel and related concepts -- mostly to explain why things don't work as described in typical SF stories. The math and science are pretty solid, in my experience. Of course, the section on x-ray lasers focuses heavily on the theoretical physics of the device and not on practical matters or program development (it does note that Teller's Excalibur was discredited, though).
 

r16

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now that site really is the find of the day for me personally . Even when ı know next to nothing about many of the things in SPF , ı can still benefit from it .Thanks .
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a338619.pdf

Abstract: This study, concentrating on the period of Reagan's presidency, examines the role of Congress in
the development and evolution of the Strategic Defense Initiative, including relations between Congress
and the SDIO, which exercised primary responsibility for the program within the Department of Defense.
The argument presented here is that Congress played a larger role in shaping SDI than is generally
appreciated.

(U) At Los Alamos' rival, the Lawerence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco,
a similar ABM project was gathering momentum at about the same time. The coordinator, Dr.
Lowell Wood, was a protege of Dr. Edward Teller, former director of Lawrence Livermore and
hailed by many as the "father" of the U.S. H-bomb. Known as "Excalibur," the project's purpose was
to explore the practicability of a theory initially posited by Peter Hagelstein, an MIT-trained
electrical engineer, who envisioned a compact laser pumped by X-rays from a small nuclear
detonation. After several failures, the concept was successfully tested at the Nevada underground
nuclear test site late in 1980.8

(U) Encouraged by the results, Teller launched a vigorous lobbying campaign in Washington
to gain additional funding and support for X-ray laser research. With the advent of the Reagan
administration in 1981, Teller, who knew Reagan personally, was all but assured a sympathetic
audience. While governor of California in 1967, Reagan had attended a special Lawrence Livermore
briefing arranged by Teller on the progress being made there in strategic defenses, and over the years
since they had stayed in touch on such matters. In the events leading up to Reagan's SDI speech, it
seems clear that Teller's views were among those the President found most persuasive.9

(U) Excalibur, as Teller saw it, was more than simply another scientific experiment. Indeed,
at the core of the program, he believed, was the chance for a radical revision of U.S. strategic
doctrine. "A single x-ray laser ... the size of an executive desk," he argued,"... could potentially
shoot down the entire Soviet land-based missile force."10 With such enormous potential, in Teller's
estimation, the X-ray laser and similar new technologies, if fully exploited, offered the opportunity
to liberate humanity, once and for all, from the dismal threat of nuclear war. Instead of a strategy
of deterrence resting on the threat of mutual assured destruction, or MAD, Teller foresaw the coming
of a new era of mutual assured survival built around defensive rather than offensive weaponry.
"The policy of the West," he argued,

is to preserve peace. We tried to do it by deterrence—because on the
other side, in the East, there is an expansionist, imperialist power.
Peace was to be preserved by the obvious means of deterrence: the
menace of retaliation. ... I don't think any of us liked it from the
very beginning. It has been not quite morally acceptable; not to me,
not (I believe) to any reasonable person. There seemed to be no
alternative. Now an alternative has emerged. We find in our
developing technology more and more possibilities of real defence.
Not with the idea and, I would certainly say, not with the assurance
of complete protection, but with the idea that defense can make the
result of aggression doubtful. . . .11


______________________
8 William Broad, Star Warriors: The Young Scientists Who Are Inventing the Weaponry of Space
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985), 118-119; Clarence A. Robinson, Jr., "Advance Made
on High Energy Laser," Aviation Week and Space Technology, Feb. 23, 1981: 25-27.

9 Sanford Lakoff and Herbert York, A Shield in Space? (Berkeley, Calif.: University of
California Press, 1989), 11-14. Also see Broad, Star Warriors. 122; and Gregg Herken, "The
Earthly Origins of Star Wars," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 43, no. 8 (Oct. 1987),
20-22.

10 Ltr, Teller to Paul H. Nitze, Dec. 28, 1984, in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 44 (Nov.
1988): 5.

11 Teller quoted in Michael Charlton, From Deterrence to Defense (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, 1987), 95-96.

Exactly what the critics found objectionable about SDI depended largely on their
personal preferences and what they perceived to be the priorities of their constituents. The most
often mentioned criticism was the program's cost, not only during the research phase as outlined in
the Fletcher report, but as a possible option for future deployment. Among Democrats, especially
liberals and those representing declining urban centers or populations dependent on federal
entitlement programs, there was a tendency to regard SDI as a menacing competitor for increasingly
scarce resources due to the Reagan administration's reordering of social spending priorities. By
limiting funding during the research phase, they apparently saw an opportunity to slow the program
to the point that any decision on deployment would be delayed indefinitely, thereby curbing the
chance that SDI might establish a rival claim on the budget.
 

blackstar

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Thanks for posting that.

The cable TV show "The Americans" has featured an SDI plot, although it's set in early 1981 (a couple of years before the formal announcement of SDI). Surprisingly, it's actually based in some real facts, because some people were lobbying the new administration on the issue of missile defense at that time.
 

bobbymike

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"Star Warriors" is a great book (recommend highly) hope our weapons labs are still filled with people so completely and unapologeticly dedictated to the defense of this naiton.
 

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http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/MTO/Programs/Ultrabeam.aspx

ULTRABEAM
The goal of the Ultrabeam program is to demonstrate, with laboratory-scale equipment, the world’s first gamma ray laser.

The demonstration of a laboratory-scale X-ray laser with record-high photon energy of 4.5 keV in the first phase of the Ultrabeam program opens the possibility of creating gamma ray lasers.

Compact gamma ray lasers can enable new and more effective radiation therapy and radiation diagnostic tools for medical and materials/device inspection applications (e.g., TRUSTed ICs).

The unique X-ray laser technology developed in UltraBeam could enable the development of compact, laboratory-scale, high-brightness coherent sources and ultimately enable 3-D molecular-scale imaging of living cells.

The Ultrabeam program has two phases. The first phase demonstrated saturated X-ray gain at 4.5 keV with an estimated 10 mJ, about 30 attosecond as pulsed output and obtained evidence for the transmission of these X-ray pulses through normally opaque low-Z solid targets, an anomalous propagation behavior consistent with the formation of dielectric plasma-waveguide channels in the solid targets.

The second (current) phase of the Ultrabeam program is a 36-month effort that is structured to develop a higher-power X-ray pump laser, gamma ray diagnostics, and gain modeling; develop necessary pump power compression and gain-length techniques and demonstrate coherent gamma ray amplification in high-atomic number solid materials.
 
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pavel

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Page off magazine Scientific American October 1984 Vol. 251 number 4.
Orbital laser weapon (detail). Bottom left - astronaut (!!). This is only a small part of a giant device. Composite system the aperture mirrors reflecting massive laser beams into one huge stream to achieve the purpose on the planet. Astronaut smaller than one mirror! Interesting question: how NASA was going to show me this into orbit in 1984? Ronald Reagan was a great director ...
 

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Byeman

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pavel said:
how NASA was going to show me this into orbit in 1984? Ronald Reagan was a great director ...

NASA would have nothing to do with it. The DOD would have developed a launch vehicle to carry it.
 

moin1900

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X-Ray Lasers

Various Lasers including POP-UP X-ray Laser
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMfmVzHZvkc

Artist's impression of X-Ray Lasers
http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/337463/view
http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/337464/view
http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/337496/view
http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/337460/view

Various Lasers Page 45-46
http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA170843

Newsweek cover April 1983
X-Ray Laser Battlestation
http://www.papermemoriesplus.com/product/1983-april-4-newsweek-magazine--star-wars--bt-8451

Aviation Week & Space Technology February 23 1981
Drawing of a X-Ray Laser ? Someone knows more ?

Maybe someone knows more such drawings ?
 

Bgray

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one of the problems was how were you going to guide the x-ray lasers? Generating the beam is only the first step-- you have to be able to reliably target it, and I don't think they ever got to that point. could be wrong though.
 

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I don't think you have to aim that precisely with an X ray laser. It would be somewhat analogous to the aiming required for a nuclear tipped interceptor. I don’t know how the X ray laser pumping physics work but if we assume each molecule in the Uranium rod gets excited/discharged once, then you can estimate the total energy emitted (per rod). If you imagine a 75lb Uranium laser rod (2 inch diameter x 1 yard long) and a 0.1nm X ray emission wavelength, you get about 180 billion joules of X ray energy heading in the general direction of the target. Regardless of the exact energy level, it would be so high it would evaporate any telescope trying to collimate and point the beam before the blast wave arrived.
 

TomS

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Here's one take on the math:

http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=phy_fac

The x-ray laser is intended to have a kill radius of about 1000 to 2000 km. Using a fullangle width of the laser beam at 1000 km is W = (106 ml(8.3 x 10-5) = 83 m, which gives an area of W =7 X 107 cm.

So, you need the beam to be within 83 meters at 1,000 km, or about 0.08 mils. That's pretty precise.

Also, each laser would actually be a bundle of very thin lasing rods, probably zinc. Each rod would be less than 1mm thick.
 

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I skimmed through the paper and I am reminded of articles I read in Scientific American where assumptions are made to generate ridiculous results thus proving the non viability of a specific weapon system (which was basically all of them). X Ray lasers themselves seemed to have run into real technical hurdles which precluded any significant development effort which is precisely what R&D is supposed to do. Technically invalid systems naturally don't get out of the lab.


0.083 mils or 83urads is actually fairly easy to achieve. RMS pointing at submicroradian levels was achieved so long ago I can't remember. Of course that is using a telescope. Pointing a rod is more problematic. In any event, X ray lasers and neutral particle beams were the two major SDI concepts that never managed to show working feasibility. The rest can be seen in Youtube videos (railguns, optical band lasers, hit to kill interceptors, etc).
 

TomS

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Oh, that accuracy is definitely doable (Hubble does much, much finer than that), but it's not just "point in the general direction fo the target" levels of precision. Add that you're trying to point multiple separate lasers around a single bomb at different targets and the complexity gets very high.
 

starviking

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Bgray said:
one of the problems was how were you going to guide the x-ray lasers? Generating the beam is only the first step-- you have to be able to reliably target it, and I don't think they ever got to that point. could be wrong though.


The only way I can think of targeting the lasers would be a narrow-angle telescope on the lazing rods, cued by wider-angle optical sensors on the bus.


TomS said:
Here's one take on the math:

http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=phy_fac

The x-ray laser is intended to have a kill radius of about 1000 to 2000 km. Using a fullangle width of the laser beam at 1000 km is W = (106 ml(8.3 x 10-5) = 83 m, which gives an area of W =7 X 107 cm.

So, you need the beam to be within 83 meters at 1,000 km, or about 0.08 mils. That's pretty precise.

Also, each laser would actually be a bundle of very thin lasing rods, probably zinc. Each rod would be less than 1mm thick.


Thanks for the paper, though as has been noted, it seems to be one of those whose sole focus is to "shoot down" the concept.


The paper seems to be implying the laser intensities discussed are for a "hard kill". It might be possible to "mission kill" the warhead by degrading the RV at lower intensities - so allowing a more distant attack, and so simplifying the orbital dynamics.


I also wonder if an even more widespread beam might be useful for killing decoys - thus simplifying late-phase interceptions.
 

phrenzy

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It's bugging me that I can't find Teller's testimony video, I know I've seen it on youtube. He's yelling at s bunch of senators telling them that he has a device the size of an office desk that could destroy most of the Soviet ICBM fleet and that he can't tell them more about it, he thinks he should be allowed to but can't. He'd truly left the reservation by that point given that the underground tests had shown (apparently) that, with their current set up at least, they couldn't get anything like the power they needed, nowhere near. In that respect the aiming was the least of their problems. Teller was determined though, I suppose he was always a pretty hard charging guy.

There were a couple of good pbs documentaries on SDI that are up on youtube as well, the Nova one has some good Teller stuff in it (more technical than you'd expect from a general consumption doco, still basic, but worth watching).
 
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pavel

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Part of the original pages of Scientific American 10 \ 84 in the English language - the publication of physicists of the Strategic Defense Initiative . These pages are an orbital nuclear Laser Weapons (red line in front of the text) .
Material from the PDF archives of "Nature" magazine. Why transcontinental ballistic missile for nuclear charge is called " bus" ? I am 43 years old, I do not understand .
 

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TomS

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The "bus" isn't the whole missile, it is the upper stage carrying the reentry vehicles (RVs). It's called a "bus" because it is a vehicle that carries multiple "passengers" (RVs) and drops them off at different locations.
 

sferrin

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pavel said:
Part of the original pages of Scientific American 10 \ 84 in the English language - the publication of physicists of the Strategic Defense Initiative . These pages are an orbital nuclear Laser Weapons (red line in front of the text) .
Material from the PDF archives of "Nature" magazine. Why transcontinental ballistic missile for nuclear charge is called " bus" ? I am 43 years old, I do not understand .

Boy it's sad how far Scientific American has fallen. It almost reads like Popular Science these days.
 

Byeman

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TomS said:
The "bus" isn't the whole missile, it is the upper stage carrying the reentry vehicles (RVs). It's called a "bus" because it is a vehicle that carries multiple "passengers" (RVs) and drops them off at different locations.


That is not proper explanation. See satellite bus and computing bus
 

sferrin

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Byeman said:
TomS said:
The "bus" isn't the whole missile, it is the upper stage carrying the reentry vehicles (RVs). It's called a "bus" because it is a vehicle that carries multiple "passengers" (RVs) and drops them off at different locations.


That is not proper explanation. See satellite bus and computing bus

What is your explanation?
 
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pavel

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Dear Sir Tom and Secret project ! Thank you very much for the professional help! My colleagues tell me: Professor Hans Bethe and his students were active anti-nuclear activists . Therefore, they are published in "Scientific American" were against the Reagan program . Yes, maybe it's not exactly a technical document . But it is an important historical document of the Cold War.
 

TomS

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Byeman said:
TomS said:
The "bus" isn't the whole missile, it is the upper stage carrying the reentry vehicles (RVs). It's called a "bus" because it is a vehicle that carries multiple "passengers" (RVs) and drops them off at different locations.


That is not proper explanation. See satellite bus and computing bus

Well, all of these run back to the same source -- "Omnibus" (Latin for "for all"). I suspect the computer term derives from the use of "bus" (as in Busbar) as a common power supply in electronics. Not sure if the satellite and missile term come from that or an original coinage.
 

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