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Pentagon to test space weapons { March 15 2006 }

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Pentagon to Test Space Weapons
United Press International | March 15, 2006

Destruction of enemy satellites with high-powered ground-based lasers is among weapon systems the U.S. Defense Department reportedly wants to test in space.

The Pentagon is seeking funding for these tests which could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, reports the Boston Globe citing federal budget documents. The department's budget proposal is for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

Other tests for creating a space battlefield would include a missile launched at a small satellite in orbit and a small space vehicle that could disperse weapons while traveling at 20 times the speed of sound, the report said.

The Globe report said the Pentagon feels its aerospace technology has advanced exponentially in the past two decades. The military says the investment is justified because the technology will also have civilian applications such as refueling or retrieving disabled satellites.

But arms-control specialists told the newspaper the tests could place weapons in space without a public debate on the consequences, even more so that President Reagan's "Star Wars."

A government spokesman said there are no plans to base weapons in space. ''We just want to do some experiments" on weapons technology in space, he was quoted as saying.

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