Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Remember all the Democrats who said Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative Wouldn't Work?


Too bad Obama castrated the Space Program though.


Jewish Atheist said...

UAVs are a lot easier to hit than missiles!

Joshua said...

Most funding for SDI went out the window long ago. The relevant sections of the space program that have been altered wouldn't impact that that much (what would have been relevant to SDI would have been general Earth-to-orbit capabilities which aren't being substantially reduced by Obama's proposed program. Although the replacement program recently proposed by Congress does potentially slash into some of those issues.)

However, this is somewhat besides the point. The article you link to discusses work that's only superficially similar to Star Wars. Targeting small atmospheric drones is very different than targeting ballistic missiles which are much higher up and move much faster. Ballistic missiles move at velocities on the order of km per a second, whereas drones move at most on the order of hundreds of meters a second. Most cruise missiles for example have a maximum velocity that is subsonic, and so they can't go beyond about 300 m/s. Even a regional ballistic missile like the Scud isn't going to go more than about 500 or 600 m/s. In contrast an ICBM has a burnout speed typically of at least 5 km /s and a return speed of at least 3 km/s or so. (For comparison, This is a ratio that's somewhat larger than the ratio between about how fast a typocal person can sprint and about how fast a typical car can go.) Comparing this to Star Wars misses the very different technological hurdles involved.

SJ said...

Joshua my understanding from the news article is that it's a prototype and not the final product.

The point is that the Dems from the 1980s underestimated American ingenuity.

Joshua said...

This has nothing to do with the prototype issue. This isn't technology that's anywhere near what you need to intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile. Finished versions of this won't be anywhere near able to intercept them either. This is technology for intercepting short-range, slow missiles, not long-range, fast moving ICBMs.

Joseph said...

It sound ideal for intercepting the possible missiles from Iran.