US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artist's impression of a space-based laser for intercepting enemy ballistic missiles. This concept is part of the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or 'Star Wars') programme. A powerful chemical laser is used, and a lensing system ensures maximum energy concentration on the target. This system is designed to operate in the boost phase of the missile's flight, before the multiple warheads have been released, and is the first 'layer' of the SDI system.
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