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Russia to build ‘space gun’ that can destroy objects in outer space

SOVIET GROUND-BASED LASER: The Soviet Strategic Defense Program involved extensive research on advanced technologies in the 1980s. The USSR already had ground-based lasers, conceptually illustrated here, capable of interfering with some U.S. satellites. (Edward L. Cooper/WikiMedia)
June 13, 2018

Russia plans on converting a telescope into a massive “space gun” with the capability of shooting down and destroying objects in space.

For now, its main use would be to take out space debris, but the new technology could eventually be adapted as a state-of-the-art weapon that could possibly take out global communications infrastructure or military aircraft.

Researchers at the Altai Optical-Laser Center, a subsidiary of Roscosmos (the Russian equivalent of NASA), are currently leading the project, which is still in the early development stages.

Preliminary reports suggest the device would simply be a faster, easier and more cost-effective method of vaporizing small pieces of space debris orbiting near important satellites, the U.K. Metro reported.

“The scientists intend to use the massive soon-to-be-built telescope at the Altay Optical-Laser Center and convert it into a laser cannon,” a Russian report read. “The device is expected to be powered by a solid-state generator, though the project team has yet to choose which model to use.”

While the project seeks to solve an important problem in protecting valuable satellites, experts say that such a device could ultimately end up being a catastrophic weapon of war.

If successful, Russia would have the ability to knock out global communications infrastructure or military aircraft with ease. Such a weapon would initiate an entirely knew caliper of warfare with little to no defense.

Space warfare as been a topic the Trump Administration has addressed in recent months, with the President himself floating the idea of a military “Space Force” on more than one occasion.

“My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said during a speech at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in March. “We may even have a Space Force, develop another one, Space Force. We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force. We have the Army, the Navy.”

“So think of that, Space Force,” Trump continued. “Because we are spending a lot and we have a lot of private money coming in, tremendous. You saw what happened the other day, and tremendous success. From the very beginning, many of our astronauts have been soldiers and Airmen, Coast Guard men and Marines. And our service members will be vital to ensuring America continues to lead the way into the stars.”

The President doubled down on his notion of a Space Force in May during a speech to the West Point Black Knights football team.

“We are actually thinking of a sixth [branch], and that would be the Space Force,” Trump said.

“We are getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons, and we are seriously thinking of the Space Force,” Trump added.