Test Linked to 'Star Wars' Program Postponed

Associated Press

A nuclear weapons test linked to President Reagan's strategic defense initiative, also known as "Star Wars," was postponed for the third time Sunday because of weather conditions, the Department of Energy said.

The test will not be conducted until next Saturday at the earliest because of weather problems and the Christmas holidays, department spokesman Chris West said.

A forecast indicated that unfavorable weather would continue at the site, 104 miles northwest of Las Vegas, well into next week, West said.

The test, code-named Goldstone, was scheduled for noon Sunday after being postponed Thursday and again Saturday.

Winds at Pahute Mesa, ground-zero for the test, continued to blow toward Beatty, Nev., and populated areas of California, prompting the third delay, West said.

Tests are not conducted if winds are blowing toward populated areas.

Relationship Denied

The underground hydrogen bomb blast is to carry an explosive punch of up to 150,000 tons of TNT, 10 times the force of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Energy Department officials have declined to confirm that the test is part of the "Star Wars" program, a proposed space-based defense system designed to knock out enemy missiles with laser rays. Other sources say it is related to "Star Wars," designed to help scientists learn how to harness and focus laser rays from a hydrogen bomb explosion.

Thirty congressmen have urged that the Goldstone test be postponed, contending that measuring equipment was flawed in a test last March that was related to "Star Wars" and that problems with the equipment have not been corrected.

In Moscow, the Defense Ministry newspaper Red Star on Saturday criticized the planned test, saying it wound undermine international stability. The Soviet Union says it is observing a unilateral five-month moratorium on nuclear testing.

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