May 29, 2007

History of the Soviet Union’s “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative Published

In the mid-1980s, while the United States worked to develop President Reagan's "Star Wars" strategic defense initiative space-based missile defense program, the Soviet Union was secretly developing its own version. It was a program so top secret that photos of the Energiya launch vehicle were only taken from the opposite side to ensure that the true nature of the Polyus (or Skif-DM) program remain hidden.

In an article written by Russian historian Konstantin Lantrotov and translated by Soviet space history expert Dr. Asif Siddiqi, the Volume 14 #2 issue of 'Quest: The History of Spaceflight' provides the first full account of the Polyus (Skif-DM) space-based laser battle station program, a major element of the Soviet space program. The article focuses on a detailed account of launch preparations, the visit to Baykonur by Soviet Communist Party General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, and its launch on 15 May 1987. Part one of the article appeared in the previous issue and discussed the formation, goals, and early history of the program.

The Volume 14 #2 issue also contains the story of Bill Tindall and how the Apollo 12 mission team executed a pinpoint landing on the Moon near the Surveyor spacecraft; an interview with astronaut Joe Allen who discusses his career at NASA; a history the Deep Space 1 mission which saw a spacecraft visit to Borrelly's comet; the Pioneer program of the late 1950s; and several book reviews.

About Quest

Since 1992, 'Quest: The History of Spaceflight' (ISSN: 1065-7738) has published a range of articles, oral histories, interviews, and stories that take the reader behind-the-scenes of the programs, people, and politics that have influenced our journey to the stars. Published quarterly, Quest is the only history journal to exclusive focus on space. Additional details on Quest, along with a bibliography of past articles, appear at

 Scott Sacknoff 703-524-2766 Contact via