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The effectiveness of lasers, particle beams, and high-speed projectiles in achieving the goals of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is discussed. The factors that bear on the choice of a ground-based versus a space-based system are outlined. A table is included summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of the various systems being considered for the SDI system. The way in which an X-ray laser could provide `pop-up' defense is described, as is the possible role of rail guns in the system. Finally, the problems that must be overcome in supplying power in space are outlined.
Date of Publication: Sept. 1985