In 1984 Russia attacked the Space Shuttle Challenger with a Laser Radar system

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In 1984 Russia attacked the Space Shuttle Challenger with a Laser Radar system

Russia used laser radar against the manned Space Shuttle Challenger interfering with equipment and making the crew feel sick. According to the articles below they were concerned about the Shuttles launching spy satellites and going over Russia.

On 11 October 1984, the US defense secretary reported to the president that equipment on the Challenger shuttle broke down and crew felt unwell when it passed over Lake Balkhash, near Norak, suggesting that the Soviets were testing a new anti-satellite weapon.

Indeed, the Terra-3 experimental laser radar was used on Defence Minister Dmitriy Ustinov's orders. After a US protest, the Soviets promised not to use it against manned spacecraft.

The Americans, however, were worried, thinking that
Okno was a beam anti- satellite weapon system. This nearly wrecked the Soviet-US summit in 1985, which only went ahead after Soviet specialists proved that Okno had no radiating elements.

By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2008

More on the topic...

"In 1981 the United States carried out the first launch of the Shuttle spacecraft. This naturally drew the attention of the country's government and Ministry of Defense leadership.

On being launched from the U.S. Air Force Western Space and Missile Center (Vandenberg), the Columbia and then the Challenger manned orbiter stages would pass over middle latitudes of the USSR from east to west, primarily in hours of daylight.

This is 8 out of 14 revolutions per day, coinciding with our country's time zones. Orbital altitude was 300-400 km and there was total conformity with the sequence of passage of U.S. reconnaissance spacecraft.

... Quote:
In those days I was preparing a detailed report for the Minister of Defense on means being used to track the Shuttle flight and on results of Outer Space Monitoring System operation.

Then, some time in the autumn of 1983, Marshal of the Soviet Union D. Ustinov called me on the Kremlin phone [kremlevka]: I have before me your report on work on the Shuttle. Tell me, why hasn't the experimental laser complex of General Designer Nikolay Ustinov been used?'

Dmitriy Fedorovich was excited over his son's creation. At that time a team of 300 specialists was performing modifications on the complex, and I reported this to the Minister of Defense. And the experiment took place on 10 October 1984, during the Challenger's 13th flight, when its orbital revolutions were passing in the vicinity of the National Air Defense Troops state range near Lake Balkhash, with the laser unit operating in a detection mode with minimum emissive power.

The craft's orbital altitude at that time was 365 km and the slant range of acquisition and tracking was 400-800 km. A precise target designation was issued to the laser unit by General Designer Grigoriy Kisunko's Argun radar measurement complex.

The Challenger crew later reported that as they were flying over the vicinity of Balkhash, communications on the craft suddenly shut down, malfunctions appeared in operation of gear, and the astronauts themselves did not feel quite well.

The Americans began to investigate and soon realized that the crew had been subjected to some kind of artificial effect from our side and lodged an official protest with the USSR.

Based on humane considerations, the laser unit as well as a portion of the range's radiotechnical complexes having a high energy potential subsequently were not employed to track the Shuttles.

Much more on the link
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2008

Here is the Bio of one of the crew of the Challenger at the time

... Quote:
5 October 1984 - STS-41-G. Assignment: Prime Crew. Flight: STS-41-G. Manned seven crew. Deployed ERBS; performed high resolution Earth imagery.

Payloads: Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) deployment, Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA)-3 experiments, Large Format Camera (LFC). First use of Orbital Refueling System (ORS) with extravehicular activity (EVA) astronauts, IMAX camera.

In response to the American Strategic Defence Initiative and continued military use of the shuttle, the Soviet Union fired a 'warning shot' from the Terra-3 laser complex at Sary Shagan. The facility tracked Challenger with a low power laser on 10 October 1984. This caused malfunctions to on-board equipment and discomfort / temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2008

Here is the laser radar system as discussed in it MAY be similar to what the Russians used.

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target.

The prevalent method to determine distance to an object or surface is to use laser pulses. Like the similar radar technology, which uses radio waves instead of light, the range to an object is determined by measuring the time delay between transmission of a pulse and detection of the reflected signal.
LIDAR technology has application in archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, remote sensing and atmospheric physics[1].Other termsfor LIDAR include ALSM (Airborne Laser Swath Mapping)[2] and laser altimetry[3].

The acronym LADAR (Laser Detection and Ranging)[4] is often used in military contexts. The term laser radar is also in use but is misleading becauseit uses laser light and not the radiowaves that are the basis of conventional radar.[5]
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2008

The development of Laser radar


Laser Radar (LADAR) is employed similar to millimeter wave radar, but uses laser beams to scans and process the signal echoed from targets, to create a virtual picture of the area.

The LADAR processor looks for familiar patterns in the scenes. The processor continuously compares these patterns with 3D targets files stored in the weapon's memory. Due to its capability to scan large areas with very high precision, and its ability to gradually build a detailed picture of the area under surveillance, LADAR sensors are usually employed on loitering systems, which can look at the target from different angles, verify the target identification and select the best attack position for the desired effect.
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2008

Here is some more about the Terra-3 base.

Terra-3 is a military ground (ground complex) for development and tests of laser weapon of high power.

Balkhash is located on territory of ground of development and tests of facilities of strategic air and protivokosmicheskoy defense of Sary-shagan ashore lake on areas Karagandinskoy and Zhambylskoy of areas of Republic Kazakhstan.

On territory of ground the experimental surface systems, intended for the construction of strategic missile defence from intercontinental ballistic rockets, were tested, and also for the defeat of other air and space aims.
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2008

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