Talk:Strategic Defense Initiative

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Archive 1 - Archived January 14, 2007


Feel free to add new comments below. It may be helpful to consult the archives prior to asking a question as the answer may be archived.

Space-based programs[edit]

The entire Space-based programs section is riddled with errors. The linked document from the Claremont Institute about Brilliant Pebbles, for example, appears to be pure fiction (BP didn't use "projectiles made of tungsten," for example). Several of the other referenced pages have broken links.

I'm happy to help fix it, or maybe write a dedicated Brilliant Pebbles page, but thought I'd ask before I did any work. AceNZ (talk) 08:14, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Test Videos?[edit]

A video I've been looking for is a flight test video of a 'brilliant pebble' wherein a kinetic interceptor is put through a series of manuvers in a room over a catch net. A voice calls out each manuver, then the interceptor does it. The video runs from the start of the test through the interceptor running out of fuel and dropping into the net. Actual runtime of the interceptor would be much longer in space because during th test it had to constantly pulse whichever thruster(s) pointed down to hover.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Bizzybody (talkcontribs) 08:23, January 16, 2007 (UTC)

Questioning present day capabilities[edit]

Is SDI capable of causing wild fires, building fires, train track warp'g and zone hot spots that possibly create tornados and hurricanes?

I am curious to know what countries have SDI sattelite capabilities and the countries able to defeat same. I am aware China successfully killed a low orbit sattelitte in Jan07.

I am curious to know the time period an orbiting sattelite is capable of fire'g at a fixed point on the face of the earth before the window is closed.

Are there any sources capable of catching an event such as the firing of a ultraviolet focused laser? Greg0658 16:27, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I think I saw that movie. Was it Under Siege 2: Dark Territory? Maybe it was GoldenEye? What you're talking about is not part of SDI, it's privately owned, I think by Haliburton. --Dual Freq 01:23, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

The People's Republic of China succeeded in blinding a low orbit satellite, but did not kill the satellite. 16:07, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Rail Gun[edit]

Unfortunately the hyper velocity rail gun section includes much information that is inaccurate and almost all information that is unverifiable due to a complete lack of any other credible sources mentioning it on the various searches that I have tried. Some of it shows fundamental misunderstanding of even the differences between a rail gun and gauss guns and the sources of rail wear. I will rewrite it to the best of my understanding of rail gun systems but the flat fact is that without some source of information on the particular project it will necessarily be short or inaccurate. Some of the problems include the article talking about on and off switching of magnetic fields and how that was somehow responsible for the rail deterioration. In actuality the rail deterioration is caused by ohmic heating of contact surfaces between the projectile as current is passed through them causing vaporization of the metal and leading to pitting and the magnetic field switching is a problem that is inherent to gaussian rifles or gauss guns that have no rail or rail wear but do have magnetic field switching problems that make them inefficient (read inefficient to the point of impossibility) for such hypervelocity applications. Read or even scan the pages on gauss guns or rail guns and you will see the flaws of the current writings.

I would appreciate any input either from those with relevant credible sources or editing for those that have a better gift for English. Any technical changes from mine I would appreciate to be defended in the talk section or a source given for them. For the record my alias is Effilcdar and I work from a number of different computers and my email address is Matt.radcliffe at gmail (if addresses are against the rules then feel free to just delete it and others will just have to live without insulting me.)

Here I will leave a copy of the text that I copied off the pages edit site for those that might doubt my sincerity or how bad it originally was.


The SDI rail gun investigation, called the Compact High Energy Capacitor Module Advanced Technology Experiment (CHECMATE), had been able to fire two projectiles per day during the initiative. This represented a significant improvement over previous efforts which were only able to achieve about one shot per month. Hypervelocity rail guns are, at least conceptually, an attractive alternative for a spacebased defense system. This is because of their envisioned ability to quickly shoot at many targets. Also, because only the projectile leaves the gun, the gun can carry many projectiles.

A hypervelocity rail gun works very much like a nuclear accelerator. A metal pellet (the projectile) is attracted down a guide (the rail) of magnetic fields and accelerated by the rapid on-off switching of the various fields. The speeds attained by these small projectiles are dazzling. In one experiment a small particle was accelerated to a velocity of more than 24 miles per second (at that speed the projectile could circle our earth at the equator in something less than 20 minutes).

One of the major technical challenges of the rail gun experiments was the rapid firing of the gun. The challenge had to do with the rails. In order to rapidly accelerate the pellet, the rail had to rapidly switch its magnetic fields on and off. This extremely fast switching requires a tremendous current of electricity (almost one-half million amperes) to pass through the rails every time the gun is fired. In some experiments the rails had to be replaced after each firing. Another challenge with the rail gun is the rapid acceleration of the projectile. At the speeds mentioned above, the acceleration stresses the pellet to pressures in excess of 100,000 times the normal force of gravity. In order to be effective, the bullet must be able to withstand the initial acceleration in order to get to the target. Further, if there ever were to be homing devices in larger rail gun projectiles, that projectile would need to be hardened to keep its shape, and the electronics inside it would need to be able to function after being stressed by the initial acceleration.

The purpose of the research into hypervelocity rail gun technology was to build an information base about rail guns so that SDI planners would know how to apply the technology to the proposed defense system.

In addition to being considered for destroying ballistic missile threats, rail guns were also being planned for service in space platform (sensor and battle station) defense. This potential role reflected defense planner expectations that the rail guns of the future would be capable of not only rapid fire, but also of multiple firings (on the order of tens to hundreds of shots).


Further comments from effildar: I have edited the article and have changed the technical details but not any of the questionable historical details. Or even any of the more questionable technical specs. If anyone here feels that it is appropriate I would like to suggest a large pruning of doubtful historical facts. the changes I made were based on basic understanding of rail guns and a somewhat more advanced understanding of coil guns I did not remove or change anything that was not technically nonsensical. If any more information is needed then I would recommend Sam Barrow's power labs site or the Wikipedia articles on gauss guns or rail guns.

Finally if I broke any rules of Wikipedia all I can say is that I am sorry but I am someone who is changing something that was blatantly wrong and misinforming to the point that I suspect that it was malicious. I am not someone that generally even wants to edit here. I take NO I repeat NO responsibility for the facts that I didn't change. All I can say is that what I left I didn't know for a fact to be wrong. 07:17, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Railgun says only 2.4 km per second, not 24 miles per second... Kernow (talk) 21:21, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Star Wars media name for SDI[edit]

As described by Encarta, "Star Wars" was a name given by the media to to SDI due to the space-based and laser elements of the program [1]. The name was based on the 1977 film, so we state simply that, not the more wordy and general description "one of the films". See Elements of Style for the value of being concise. As illustrated by Encarta, the Star Wars ref is more appropriate in a later paragraph, not the opening line. Joema 03:53, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I couldn't find the article by searching for "Star Wars Project" which is all i knew it was called. I think there should be redirect / disambig pages that direct people searching for "star wars project" and other related non-Lucas star wars terms here. -- (talk) 17:55, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Try refining your search to "Star Wars". The article provides a link at the top of the page to the disambiguation page. --ž¥łǿχ (ŧäłķ | čøŋŧřīъ§) 18:00, 18 April 2008 (UTC)


I find it interesting that the Italian version at it:Strategic Defense Initiative only bothered to copy the criticism section. --Dual Freq 03:12, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

4 years later and it appears to be the same. Good to know Wikipedia's ultra left slant exists in Italy as well.Mantion (talk) 16:27, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Good to know Wikipedia's community of right wing nutters with a persecution complex is strong as ever... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:06, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Deaths of Researchers[edit]

The only reference for this claim links to an article that lacks any sources of any kind. The reference discusses events in 1988 as if they are current. How old is this reference? Can it be verified at all? I feel as though this reference should be stricken from the article. Zylox 17:24, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

I've removed the suspicious reference. There is no way to tell if this fact is a source from the "British government" as claimed, and the contents of the reference suggest that it is seriously outdated. The burden of proof falls upon the claimant. If proof cannot be provided in a reasonable amount of time, the claim will be removed from the article. Zylox 15:00, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Proof has not been provided within a reasonable amount of time, so I am going to remove the claim from the article. Zylox 14:52, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad to see that conservatives are still pushing their "Wikipedia has a liberal bias" tripe. Perhaps, if the Italian article bothered you, YOU could have done something to fix it. Or are you too busy nattering about the speck in your neighbor's eye to deal with the beam in your own? JHobson2 (talk) 16:49, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Memorial Day References[edit]

User Graham1973 (Talk | contribs) has been inserting some pop culture references to a movie called "Memorial Day". The movie does not have a wikipedia article, and while that itself does not make the movie non-notable, not even the IMDB article contains a full synopsis. Until a verified synopsis or excerpt from the movie proving these claims can be made, Memorial Day references should not be included in this article. --Zylox (talk) 19:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I have the film in my posession. My copy is courtesy of a discount retailer (Crazy Clarks). It was released on DVD by 'Flashback Entertainment' Catalog number: 6677. I'm quite happy to provide a plot summary of the film once I've watched it again. Graham1973 (talk) 00:09, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

As noted in the text of the article, SDI has been the subject of many fictional and pop culture references. This is not intended to be a complete list of those references. An extensive list, including minor low-budget films, is trivia which is discouraged by the policy WP:Trivia. As it stands now, there are plenty items that probably represent the all the pop culture references adequately. There is no need for an extensive list of pop culture references here, and I would prefer the list be removed completely then to see it balloon to a massive list of movies, books and video games that have a minor connection to SDI. --Dual Freq (talk) 00:18, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm willing to accept your explanation for removing it from the SDI list, for reference sake I'm willing to attempt a plot summary. FWIW, though the script/execution is awful and the 'blurb' on the back of the box bears no resemblance to the actual plot line of the film.Graham1973 (talk) 13:07, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Twice vanishing information[edit]

In the "Fiction and popular culture" section I have twice added the following and found it deleted without explanation.

  • In his book The Day After Roswell, Lt. Col Philip J. Corso relates that the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), was meant to achieve the capability of killing the electronic guidance systems of incoming enemy warheads and disabling enemy spacecraft, including those of extraterrestrial origin.

Though a references for SDI being used in science fiction media may be vast, I believe the brief relating of the Corso theory is an interesting one for speculation, and has been placed in "Fiction and popular culture" as opposed to being placed in the main part of the articleFoofbun (talk) 01:17, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

If you had checked the edit summary, you would see that your edit has been twice removed by user Dual Freq for reason: "There are plenty items here that probably represent the rest adequately. There is no need for an extensive list of pop culture references here. Thank you." Please refrain from adding any more content to the pop culture section. Thank you. --ž¥łǿχ (ŧäłķ | čøŋŧřīъ§) 15:17, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

While I understand that "There is no need for an extensive list of pop culture references here." but the current pop culture references are highly irrelevant. Especially since it seems to be removing references that realistically tackle the implications of SDI, in favor of Tom Clancy and obscure Video Games. Rather than a small list of rather irrelevant references, either split it into another page, remove that section entirely, or add more significant references. --Eman007 16:32, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

We're sorry, but the ruling on limited listing of references stands...and Corso has long since been debunked about his claims. --Eaglestorm (talk) 03:10, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Sakharov Analysis[edit]

There is a strong necessity to add Andrei Sakharov's analysis of the situation in front of the Politburo. The Soviet thought on this should be included in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:50, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Why is S.D.I called "Star Wars" instead of "James Bond"?[edit]

Ever since President Ronald Reagan introduced S.D.I., (which uses satellites shooting lasers in Earth orbit to blast missiles), in 1983, people have called it "Star Wars". Why is that, when clearly it was probably inspired by some James Bond movies. First of all, "Goldfinger (film)" (1964) introduced the laser beam to the general public. Then, "Diamonds Are Forever (film)" (1971) had a satellite in Earth orbit firing a laser beam to destroy a US missile in it's underground silo; a Soviet/Russian submarine, (which could probably carry missiles), travelling underwater; and several above-ground Chinese missiles on their launch pads. "Die Another Day (film)" (2002) had a ship firing a missile to try and destroy a dangerous satellite in Earth orbit. That is very similar to the recent incident where a US Navy ship launched a missile and destroyed a US satellite in orbit that was out of control and a threat to people on the ground if it impacted near where they live. Can anyone tell me why S.D.I. is called "Star Wars" instead of that "James Bond" idea, specifically that "Diamonds Are Forever" weapon? S.D.I. looks a lot more like the satellite in "Diamonds Are Forever", than anything from a "Star Wars" movie, and I am sure a lot of people saw the 007 film. There are places on the internet where the satellite in "Diamonds Are Forever" and S.D.I. are compared. Obviously many people think that President Reagan, a former actor, was influenced by the James Bond film. (talk) 19:40, 1 May 2008 (UTC)Bennett Turk

When I think it, I fully agree all you wrote. I have never thought it this way, but by all means SDI reminds nearly 99% of what James Bond movies show. I have never understood why people call SDI "Star Wars", all they share is both are fictional and future techonology spanning. Well, only reason for this, as with everything else related with SW hype, is everyting with the hype itself. When 1977 someone saw it as a miracle and hyped it over and out, it has created its phenomena. SW itself isn't the phenomena, the hype around it is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Allgermeine (talkcontribs) 19:34, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Please refer to the thread "Star wars media name for SDI." Any discussions on James Bond are irrelevant to the article. Lastly, this is not a forum. Thank you. --Eaglestorm (talk) 15:42, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Star Wars and the Cold War[edit]

Has anyone established a connection between Reagan's SDI push and the end of the Cold War? Specifically, what authors have credited SDI or similar missile defense programs with forcing the dissolution the Soviet Union? Based on what I've seen at Wikipedia, I'd have to assume that only a tiny minority would make such a connection. But if there is anything notable and verifiable, I'd like to see it. --Uncle Ed (talk) 16:28, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

How about the General Secretary of the Communist Party and Head of State at the end of the Cold War, Mikhail_Gorbachev? You'd think his opinion on the matter might be relevant. I know he admitted as much at one time, but I can't find it anywhere.

There must be a quote on this somewhere, it's made it into several biographies: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

No Mention of Tesla Particle beam plans SDI![edit]

No mention of the stolenI(by FBI in 1943 from teslas safe!) Particle Beam weapon(he tesla called it a Death ray See the book by Margaret Cheney "Tesla Man out of Time" She mentions these plans formed the Backbone of the OParticle Beam Anti missle SDI weapon! Plans still in the Lawrence Livermore Lab.Research Library too! Thanbks (Dr.Edson Andre'J.) Andreisme (talk) 00:18, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

TESLA WAS MAGIC! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:09, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Missile Defense Agency Airborne Laser[edit]

I'm sort of surprised that the events linked to this device haven't been added to this article. I'm not expert on it though so maybe I'm wrong. Just wanted to throw it out their for the participants of this article. OlYellerTalktome 16:29, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Cool article and pictures. Sadly this article is mostly a critical look at SDI. If they included the information from this website it would show that all the critics of SDI were wrong, and the SDI was beneficial.Mantion (talk) 16:25, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Scientific research[edit]

The lead mentions SDI funding a great deal of scientific research. I have heard this fact many times. Perhaps we could include a section that lists of scientific projects funded by SDI and possible real world applications if any?Mantion (talk) 16:40, 18 December 2011 (UTC)


Why is there no mention of LaRouche's claim that he came up with it? In the article about LaRouche it mentions that he proposed the idea. I'm not even defending his claim but the fact he made it seems to be notable.BenW (talk) 01:49, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

HS-117 Schmetterling missile[edit]

HS-117 Schmetterling missile redirects here, but I cannot fathom why. In the article text, there is no mention of either HS-117 or Schmetterling. The HS-117 was an early surface-to-air missile developed in Germany during WW2, hardly part of the SDI program. Even if it was some manner of precursor to some SDI related technology, I can't find this explained in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DerGolgo (talkcontribs) 14:08, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Nevermind, it's been fixed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DerGolgo (talkcontribs) 19:30, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Budget numbers[edit]

I read recently in the Boston Globe that this program cost hundreds of billions (!) of dollars. Given that cost and the impact on the national debt of the United States is a significant factor in why the SDI is controversial, some coverage of that in the article is important. -- Beland (talk) 04:09, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

In the popular-culture section, Wikipedia should consider including 1984's Terminator. The plot, which involves a futuristic, apocalyptic military event, revolves around a computerized defense system called Sky Net. The automated computer defense system becomes self-aware and turns on its human creators. Many who have seen the movie interpret it as a reference to SDI. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:53, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Why is the dismantling of the Berlin Wall listed under 'Timeline'?[edit]

It seems to make the (conservative American) assumption that the threat of the SDI program led to the fall of the Soviet Empire and yet there is no discussion of the theory in the actual article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:08, 6 April 2014 (UTC)