Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Airborne Laser Destroys Missle

"For the first time, the Missile Defense Agency destroyed a ballistic missile using an airborne high-energy laser. The event occurred during a test conducted off the coast of California by the Airborne Laser Testbed. 

Ballistic missiles move at speeds of about 4,000 miles per hour, but the laser that obliterated it moved at 670 million mph. No match. 

The laser beam is about the width of a basketball and it was shot from a modified 747-400F aircraft.

In the test, the ballistic missile was launched from a ship at sea. On board the 747, sensors detected the launch, while a low-energy laser tracked it. Another low-energy laser was used to measure atmospheric disturbances and collect data to ensure a direct hit. Within two minutes, a high-energy laser beam zapped the ballistic missile, producing a stress fracture that caused it to split into pieces."

-Tracy Staedter 

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