|NASA/DOD joint lunar reconnaissance and instrument test platform Clementine, "lost and gone forever" following its remarkable and successful mission in 1994.|
David S.F. Portree
On the evening of 23 March 1983, President Ronald Reagan addressed the people of the United States from the Oval Office. Citing aggressive moves on the part of the Soviet Union, he defended proposed increases in U.S. military spending and the introduction of new missiles and bombers. He then called for a revolution in U.S. strategic doctrine:
Let me share with you a vision of the future. . .What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies? I know this is a formidable technical task, one that may not be accomplished before the end of this century. . .I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of Mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.
Thus was born the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which is perhaps better known by its cinema-inspired nickname “Star Wars.” This post is not meant to discuss the geopolitical ramifications or technical feasibility of SDI. It will instead focus on a lesser-known aspect of SDI planning.
Read the fascinating full story at WIRED, HERE.