Weeks after an initial failure, the Army successfully fired a laser at a U.S. satellite in an experiment designed to test the vulnerability of satellites to enemy attack, the Pentagon said Monday.
Friday's experiment at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., involved the Army's hulking "MIRACL" laser, an acronym for Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser.
Neither the Air Force satellite nor the target point on the satellite was damaged or disabled in the two test firings, one lasting less than one second, the other less than 10 seconds.
Air Force Lt. Col. Bob Potter, a Pentagon spokesman, said this time the laser did hit its target point, a medium-range infrared camera.
The test marks the first time the United States has fired a high-powered laser at a satellite in orbit. The Russian government, which was informed of the test, has previously expressed concerns about the testing as constituting a potential threat to Russian satellites. Built by TRW, the laser is an offshoot of the Reagan administration's Strategic Defense Initiative.