SDI Project

So explain to me like I'm moronic why this was abandoned. Were lasers or mini-missiles in space just not effective enough for it to be a reality in the 1980s?

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    it would have been crazy expensive and there were concerns about weaponizing space. plus the tech of the time wasn't really up to it.

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    ABM technology is just getting to the point we can realistically defend against a rogue state (i.e. North Korea) launching ten or twenty missiles at us. But in the 1980s, the Soviet Union had over a thousand land-based ICBMs and a similar number of SLBMs. There's simply no way to defeat a strike consisting of hundreds of missiles.

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >why this was abandoned

    most likely wasnt-- just rolled into a black project.

    >There's simply no way to defeat a strike consisting of hundreds of missiles.

    Because it wasnt meant to protect against ICBMs. Its to down hostile craft that get too close to earth.

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    your own summary is the crux of it. SDI bit off like 40 years worth of miltech ambitions more than could be chewed at the time, and it had the misfortune to do so only 10 years before the USSR's demise.

    late 20th century scifi benefited from a kind of fantastically techno-supremacist synthesis of (1) atomic age mindset that every new problem is merely one week's advance in fundamental physics away from being a solved problem and (2) the /idea/ of digital tech and ubiquitous computing without any of the baggage of having actually realized it yet, both mapped onto (3) notions of the social order that were largely stable, plus or minus a few trivialities like racial integration, since the turn of the century. and that's what SDI was: scifi looking to be reified by sheer force of will and MIC gibs.

    that historical moment made for great storytelling and eye-wateringly fanciful r&d pitches. now, 40 years later, we've burnt through all the techno-optimism and no longer feel (collectively) in continuity with the era when hair past the ears on men made them queers and a hot dog went for 15c. our storytelling is at probably its lowest point since the enlightenment. but SDA exists and they're announcing new work every few weeks on things SDI aspired to accomplish someday.

    on a long enough timeline, we're all dead, and those who continue in the footsteps of our grand designs find new ways to underscore that technological wonders can be accomplished but humans will still manage to make them fake and ghey.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      This, plus the problem of an effective or semi-effective missile defense system subverting MAD. If people think that they can nuke somebody without consequences, kr even if they think there's a chance of stopping maybe most of incoming missiles, there's a good chance that the using nukes is on the table again.

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Budget mostly

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Ain't Trump tried to restart the program?

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    it turns out cooling the laser is a big issue that wont be surmounted anytime soon

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    There were serious concerns that it would lead to the Soviets launching a first strike before the system went online.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      nope, MAD was established. Soviets weren't a death cult.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Once you get the point you could survive MAD, it all falls apart.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >Once you get the point you could survive MAD, it all falls apart.
          mad is also about making sure others dont survive also

          if the US and Russia were to have engaged in such a scenario, Austrailia, South America, and any other place not involved in the main conflict still gets to eat US nukes
          SOLELY
          on the provision that the US would not want any 3rd party to become a global power, or global hegemon as a result of the exchange

          basically, MAD also includes striking our "allies" so they do not retain a huge advantage over whatever remains of the world after

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >MAD
        i hate it when smoothbrains repeat ancient agitprop

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >ancient agitprop
          How is "if you nuke me, I'll nuke you" agitprop?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            That's basic deterrence, not MAD, smoothbrain.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              >That's basic deterrence, not MAD, smoothbrain.
              MAD is just the consequence of "basic deterrence" when nukes are involved. The corollary to "if you nuke me, I'll nuke you" is "if I nuke you, I'll go all-in". Therefore, any nukes flying means guaranteed full-scale nuking from the other side (also known as MAD).

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        the soviets built massive bunker complexes on the assumption that the americans were actually crazy enough to nuke them. the americans never even considered any of the jingoism would result in any nuclear action against the US and they just told people to hide underneath their desks

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >the soviets built massive bunker complexes on the assumption that the americans were actually crazy enough to nuke them
          they would, and this shows that a nuke defense that's not absolute results in the thing you're defending becoming a nuke magnet. That's why the anti-ICBM systems were scrapped in the 70s.
          >and they just told people to hide underneath their desks
          Kys boomer moron.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            the entire intelligence apparatus of the cold war was the CIA blowing smoke up their own ass to secure their own funding. with how roughshod and badly managed the soviet union was during the stalin purges it's fricking incredible that people look back on america beefing with a country full of communists killing millions of themselves every year in political violence and going "yeah these people definitely have the capability and infrastructure to challenge us"

            the entire thing was a sham

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              People like you would have had us lose the cold war.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                boomer, the cold war ended 40 years ago. it's time to stop

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              It's funny how that shit also helped the Soviets to survive as long as they did.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              >the entire intelligence apparatus of the cold war was the CIA blowing smoke up their own ass to secure their own funding. with how roughshod and badly managed the soviet union was

              People like you would have had us lose the cold war.

              >People like you would have had us lose the cold war.
              The Soviets could not match the U.S. in all domains, it was impossible, and they had to really make sacrifices to achieve parity in certain areas (like space and aerospace) for a time but I think it was more capable than Russia is now in terms of science, technology, production.

              I like what

              your own summary is the crux of it. SDI bit off like 40 years worth of miltech ambitions more than could be chewed at the time, and it had the misfortune to do so only 10 years before the USSR's demise.

              late 20th century scifi benefited from a kind of fantastically techno-supremacist synthesis of (1) atomic age mindset that every new problem is merely one week's advance in fundamental physics away from being a solved problem and (2) the /idea/ of digital tech and ubiquitous computing without any of the baggage of having actually realized it yet, both mapped onto (3) notions of the social order that were largely stable, plus or minus a few trivialities like racial integration, since the turn of the century. and that's what SDI was: scifi looking to be reified by sheer force of will and MIC gibs.

              that historical moment made for great storytelling and eye-wateringly fanciful r&d pitches. now, 40 years later, we've burnt through all the techno-optimism and no longer feel (collectively) in continuity with the era when hair past the ears on men made them queers and a hot dog went for 15c. our storytelling is at probably its lowest point since the enlightenment. but SDA exists and they're announcing new work every few weeks on things SDI aspired to accomplish someday.

              on a long enough timeline, we're all dead, and those who continue in the footsteps of our grand designs find new ways to underscore that technological wonders can be accomplished but humans will still manage to make them fake and ghey.

              posted about the atomic age because I think that's really important to understand Soviet-ism which was REALLY into this idea of science and progressivism being intertwined. They also declared dialectical materialism or DIAMAT as the greatest science discovered so far, and the planned economy and all that but it took on quasi-religious dimensions with science doing what religion couldn't do and creating a heaven on earth.

              There's also a nihilistic version of science, the Blade Runner version. But "science" can also be a dogma like the medieval church or be totalitarian, and you look around and the government is telling you to reject superstition and be scientific, and then look at all this science, but it what it seems to be doing is building massive bunker complexes and tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, which doesn't seem to be very rational.

              Anyways, Putin declared by decree that modern Russia's new ideology places "priority of the spiritual over material" as the new state ideology in glory to service to the fatherland. But you can also justify poverty in the vast majority of the population this way since they're supposed to be caring for their spiritual growth while the lights flicker out. I think the embrace of irrationalism in Russia today also makes it more prone to wars because of this immaterial spiritual destiny stuff.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                >There's also a nihilistic version of science, the Blade Runner version.
                i would argue that the nihilistic version was part of the "good storytelling." in fact PKD is who i had in mind.

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    the official story is that it got cancelled, but if you look at the cutting edge technology developments they publicized in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, it's pretty obvious to me that the money that went towards developing those "ineffective technologies" just became black projects with hidden funding

    in that time period they developed and publicly announced: lasers mounted to planes that can shoot down icbms 1000 miles away through the atmosphere. hypersonic scramjet missiles that can reach mach 7. ion thrusters that use electricity to produce thrust. remote microwave crowd control devices that heat up your skin. remote microwave crowd control devices that beam voices into your head. the list goes on

    SDI was probably the single most important piece of government action to secure technological superiority in the defense sector, which was the most important political and ideological goal of the people in charge at the time. that was contemporary to when they were invading iraq for the first time so i don't think i need to explain it

  10. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It was technologically impossible at the time, and likely still is. Military projects tend to be impossibly ambitious and ultraconservative at the same time, so you get shit like this while some extremely basic seeming things take years to be deployed. Take a look at e.g. Future Combat Systems for reference, some of it was very basic, and some practically impossible even today.

    SDI also has massive political complexities around it, having the soviets think that a good ABM system exists is a good thing and so forth, nevermind the domestic politics of it

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      The fact that the Soviets were buying NASA pens for Space missions should have been a good hint that they weren't that superpower

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Maybe, but they still had 10k warheads and 10k MBTs to make up for their lack of finesse.

        I hate to bring up the war in an unrelated thread, but the first months of the war really are a good example of the Soviet Union vs. NATO in small scale, a massive armored invasion repelled with a relatively small amount of guided missiles.

        I suppose in an alternative universe the SDI worked, and a soviet nuclear attack was repelled with minimal casualties

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >I hate to bring up the war in an unrelated thread, but the first months of the war really are a good example of the Soviet Union vs. NATO in small scale, a massive armored invasion repelled with a relatively small amount of guided missiles.
          so what happened after that?
          why didnt spamming more missiles, drive Russia out of ukraine entirely?

          I mean nato has only grown, and gotten stronger since this began, and Russia has only shrunk and gotten weaker... not sure what your saying adds up, was hoping you could explain it to me

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            the way that they conduct political corruption on the part of the reds. they would overpromise and underdeliver and every link in the chain took a piece.

            the US MIC baked the graft in to the numbers and under promised and over delivered (mostly) and built our shit to compete with what the reds said they had. not only that but the graft was built in, everyone who either delivered on time got bonuses, or they got bonuses when the inevitable "teething issues" delayed and necessitated further funding to make the damned thing work.

            there is the essential difference between NATO MIC and the reds. we treat our MIC as a long term investment and the reds pump and dump.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              >there is the essential difference between NATO MIC and the reds. we treat our MIC as a long term investment and the reds pump and dump.
              what the frick are you talking about?
              its the complete opposite

              Russias MIC is not for profit, the Russian MOD says:
              >"make (insert military equipment)"
              it sends the order to whatever land/sea/air production chain is necessary and it work begins

              there is no "bidding" its not some kind of "grift" there is no "profiteering"
              none of that

              this is why Russia produces so much, with such quality for so little money

              meanwhile, in the US boeing/raytheon/lockheed, you name it are in an absolute fricking tailspin, outsourcing everything they can to thirdies to up their profit margin as much as they can, and now its
              >"if its boeing im not going"
              with no end in sight

              In my opinion, the issue is that Ukraine can only mount a 'soviet' assault in return, they have no airpower and the only offensive force multiplier they have is again, a handful of guided missiles. They can have local force superiority but not enough to penetrate the lines. Penetrating the lines would require massively disrupting fires or aerial attacks on the Russian lines, after which even numerically inferior armored units could exploit the breach and general confusion.

              My pessimistic opinion is that there will not be an end to the war on the battlefield. Who knows how the drone strikes and economic warfare turns out, but all I see is stalemate in the frontline for the time being.

              >In my opinion, the issue is that Ukraine can only mount a 'soviet' assault in return, they have no airpower and the only offensive force multiplier they have is again, a handful of guided missiles
              so why isnt western air superiority coming to bear on them
              I mean could the west have not saved $billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives and limbs, by providing like 2 or 3 superior western air strike packages on Russian positions, like maybe during the counter-offensive?

              also, none of this is a "stalemate" and Russia isnt "stalled"
              its simply "January" and general winter is slamming virtually every mile of the front, from north to south, with almost impassable weather

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                you must still have sand in your vegana over that Bradley raping a T90 main battle cuck. How long as the "3 day" SMO been going on for now?

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                >there is no bidding
                literally not true and it wasn't even true during the Soviet era. it wasn't even true during the great patriotic war

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                You know why western air strikes are out of the picture so I won't even address that. I am extremely skeptical that Russians can mount a major offensive anymore, looking more and more like a frozen conflict to me. The ground should be frozen solid by now so maneuverability is not that horrible.

                On the other bit, making things 'for profit' is a good thing and the market economy has been very efficient in the west. Of course there is graft and all, but the soviet union collapsed because command economies underperform.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            In my opinion, the issue is that Ukraine can only mount a 'soviet' assault in return, they have no airpower and the only offensive force multiplier they have is again, a handful of guided missiles. They can have local force superiority but not enough to penetrate the lines. Penetrating the lines would require massively disrupting fires or aerial attacks on the Russian lines, after which even numerically inferior armored units could exploit the breach and general confusion.

            My pessimistic opinion is that there will not be an end to the war on the battlefield. Who knows how the drone strikes and economic warfare turns out, but all I see is stalemate in the frontline for the time being.

  11. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Not really worth it because a few dozen well aimed missiles can ruin space for everyone.

  12. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    it was abandoned because it was too early and israelites made fun of it and called it star wars

  13. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Space based ABM is worse than ground based ABM.

    Ground based ABM only needs to get into a sub orbital trajectory to make an Interception.
    Space ABM has to fist be put into orbit, requiring 2-3x as much velocity, then it has to perform large and rapid plane change maneuvers to intercept the target.
    Overall you are looking at about 4x the deltaV requirement overall, which is actually over 10x harder to achieve.

    Then on top of this, space based Interceptors have to be spread out, because they are constantly orbiting and not remaining in one place.
    This means you need potentially over 100 interceptors just to be able to defend in one place.
    Meanwhile on the ground I can put all of my Interceptors between what I am defending and the enemy.

    On top of this, even ignoring things like Nuclear armed cruise missiles that can avoid such a defense entirely, there are strategies that the attacker can use to make them even less effective against ballistic missiles.
    They can target your ABM satellites to make a hole using jammers and kinetic kill systems.
    They can used depressed trajectories or Hypersonic glide vehicles to reduce the intercept opportunities.
    They can MIRV early and use decoys to completely overwhelm systems designed to intercept the missile bus.

    Overall you are looking at a system that is 1000 times worse than ground based Interceptors, which are already not ever going to be reliable against a nuclear first strike.
    Indeed many have surmised that an ABM net would actually increase nuclear risks by encouraging first strike, since the ABM net would only really be effective against a weak and disorganised enemy return strike.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      A few years ago I'd agree. While building the interceptors isn't quite as daunting a task as you seem to think (Brilliant Pebbles got as far as suborbital test flights of a prototype interceptor), you do need to launch them by the thousand in order to have a working system. Brilliant pebbles called for something like 4-5000 interceptors to guarantee enough interceptors in position to intercept an attack. That wasn't doable in 1990 but nowadays I'm not so sure. The fact that SpaceX has brought down launch costs dramatically and has demonstrated the feasibility of constellations of thousands of satellites, I think a Brilliant Pebbles like system of thousands of small interceptors has become a lot more plausible.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        It's one of those problems where even if you assume that the trip to orbit is completly free and we are able to put SM-3s into low earth orbit at will, it still doesn't really make sense.

  14. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    tl;dr it involved too many immature technologies, the most notable being lasers. but the most impactful was probably the simple cost to orbit, it was way higher back then. in a post F9 era it's much more affordable to chuck shit into orbits. in reality something like I is being done quietly and in stages. I honestly don't think the US would announce or demonstrate its ability to intercept ICBMs and other delivery systems until it had to, because it's a more valuable card when not shown

  15. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It doesn't matter if it worked or not. What matters is that the 90 IQ slavs running russia believed it would change the MAD paradigm. Causing them to agree to draw down arms in the form of INF treaty.

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