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19 July 2020


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I realize that the death ray itself would be invisible but the picture is cool.


It would need the sort of power source which is currently not to be had in orbit. That aside, the idea is intriguing and has been in circulation for a long time. But burning a hole in a steel plate at 100 meters in a lab setting and torching a building from a minimum distance of 150 vertical miles through variable density atmosphere while moving at 17K MPH is probably a bridge too far and likely to remain so for a long time.


A laser, even powerful, would burn on one spot, not explode a building. And it would be visible even on the UV or infrared wavelenghts because it would heat the air around the beam like a pillar of fire.

However, a laser would require too much energy to be fired from a little solar-powered satellite. Even dry air would disperse much of the beam at distances superior to some KM, because of heating turbulence and ionization. The more powerful the beam, the more turbulence and ionization interference.

Barbara Ann

Would it necessarily be invisible? From the wiki:

There was the possibility that a powerful enough laser could reach further into the atmosphere, perhaps as deep as 30 kilometers (19 mi) altitude if it was bright enough.[129] In this case, there would be so many X-ray photons that all of the air between the battle station and the target missiles would be completely ionized and there would still be enough X-rays left over to destroy the missile.
It sounds like ionization is a consequence of having a laser powerful enough to reach the ground. In that case, would not ionization of the air above the target look like a linear lightning strike? If hot enough, might the lightning even be accompanying by a thunder clap? Real wrath of God stuff. I genuinely don't know and would appreciate informed scientific opinions.

I have one other reservation about an Excalibur-like weapon being the source of the 'accidents': If the US has such a weapon would it not wait to expose it at a more critical juncture - say imminent hot war with a near peer foe? Unless what we are seeing is just the prelude to its much wider use and the planned destruction of Iran.


Col. Lang,

“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence three times is enemy action” - Goldfinger by Ian Fleming.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” - Clarke’s first law.

I think you are being wicked today. I will put these events down to coincidence, but as you know, such an operation would require plausible reasons for each and every event. The fire in the boatyard was in wooden dhows, which have probably been incinerating themselves for hundreds of years. Aluminum production from alumina requires continuous production of carbon electrodes made by baking petroleum pitch so fires would be a known risk. likewise explosions involving ordnance.

Thinking back to the Enigma decryption operations of WWII, I have a hard time believing that 2020 Washington would demonstrate the self restraint, wisdom and maturity required to carry off such an operation. I would expect something more hollywoodesque - showy and unsubtle, even “Trumpian”.

...but of course that is the sort of reputation that a good operator would foster.



You have no idea how many secret programs we have that do not leak. Why? the number of people in the know" is very small, very small. Throughout the Cold War American cities were ringed with Nike Hercules bases all of which had nuclear warheads. Nobody knows that and the government stopped hiding it long ago. We have lot of gear that is not showing. There is a reason that US Space Force was created.

Mark Logan

If this is the first operation of the Space Force it could well be it's last. It would be a direct attack on a foreign nation, an act of war and undeclared by Congress. Not that such isn't practically SOP these days, it's that it would've been an act by the despised Trump administration which places the fate of Space Force branch in grave peril. It's live expectancy would be on a par with that of a doughnut in a cop shop. It's difficult to imagine that not leaking, and when it does the Space force would be summarily tarred, feathered, and burnt at the stake.


Mark Logan

The easy way around that is to have a presidential finding for a covert action and give the task to CIA with Space force acting "in support' of them. This has been done many times.


Walrus, Mark,

Compartmentalization is the key.

John I

The movie "Dark Territory" explores this very situation in that it features:
1. a satellite-hosted chemical laser capable of destroying sea, air, and land targets
2. the weapon's creator is lied to by his employer (US Gov), who tell him that the project is no longer considered viable and the weapon's creator is fired from the project
3. the weapon IS viable and once armed is placed into service
4. weapon's creator and now ex-employee hacks into the weapon, takes control, and proceeds to demonstrate its capabilities while offering its use to the highest bidders

Warning: Steven Seagal superantics and wooden dialog abound


Col. Lang, I agree. I am sure you are right about secret programs and I look forward to being astounded in due course if some tidbits are ever released.

As my godfather used to say:” those that know don’t talk and those that talk don’t know.”

It’s fun to speculate however. I assume for example that all foreign electronic communication and computer systems are penetrated. I assume we have “stealth” satellites, probably armed and I wonder if we have something like “the rod of god” space weapon.




How's this for a scenario: A US DoD only stealth space station big enough to house a variety of Hammer of Thor type weapons.



The next question asked will be where these missions to build the stealth space station were launched. Well, Kodiak of course why do you think we built the site. Is it because we love giant brown bears? You people are a lot of fun. BTW expect the people who run the SAP to denigrate the possibility.


Intriguing idea. Who are we sending a message too since there's no point in blowing up a building full of centrifuges in a country which hasn't had a nuclear weapons program in years? On that note I wonder what President Xi is worrying about, besides the apparently non existent flooding on the Yangtze below the Three Gorges damn, loss of all those western pharmaceutical factories if it gives way, and famine, which won't of course happen, otherwise he might need food imports to keep his party in power.



Uncle Henry must be smiling from where ever he passed on to. To see his children having fun with their toys. I'm sure there's a statue of him somewhere in the black world to honor the go-to-guy when you needed it.


Last week there was also a mysterious fire in a Navy shipyard at the port of San Diego.

From the damage shown it looks like it may not be worth it to do the repairs.



fred et al

There are a lot of boring, literal minded people here. Do not be among them.



Things are heating up

China threat: Taiwan aims US missiles at Beijing after imminent invasion plot exposed

MILITARY tensions between China and US escalated further today, after a strong ally of President Xi warned that Beijing would invade US-backed Taiwan "early next year".


blue peacock


I guess on the positive side the 3 Gorges dam is producing record amounts of electricity.


Yeah, Right

"So, how about an orbiting pumped nuclear laser weapon aimed at targets on the ground?"

My understanding is that the x-ray lasers are "pumped" with a small nuclear explosion.

Pretty hard for a nuclear explosion in space to go noticed, isn't it?

Yeah, Right

Sorry, meant to say "go unnoticed".


Bit off topic but someone told me he thinks the Harry and Meghan show that went to Hollywood is to distract us from the Randy Andy suspicions.That and the fact that Maxwell has set a trap and is marshalling her considerable forces to hit a few funny bones.


Extraordinarily concentrated power generation is required. Any evidence of that technology being achieved, engineered & thence deployed to space?
Alternatively, even assuming these events were purposeful operations, could they be achieved by well-known, low cost means of sabotage?



Surprising how many of you took this seriously.



I'm hoping they are working on a langston field or alderson drive. What's the likelyhood that there would at least be a project to put string of orbital satelites around Mars? That way would could get daily weather updates, or at least a lot more information on a continuous basis. If Musk can create his low Earth orbit satelite network here I would think lifting a shuttle craft to carry a smaller payload to the red planet and put them into orbit there might be easy for SpaceX to pull off. It should certainly be cheaper than launching one-off probes like we do now.

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