Neutral Particle Beam Accelerator, Beam Experiment Aboard Rocket


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This low power neutral particle beam (NPB) accelerator developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory was one of several directed energy weapons investigated by the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization for possible use in missile defense. As part of the Beam Experiments Aboard Rocket project, it was launched from White Sands in July 1989 to an altitude of 200 kilometers (124 miles), operated successfully in space, and after reentry was recovered intact. The test's goals included determining NPB propagation characteristics in space and the effects on spacecraft components. Although research continued into NPBs, no deployed weapon has ever employed this technology.

Los Alamos transferred this artifact to the Museum in 2006.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.


  • Aluminum, Kapton (Polymide), Plastic, Copper, Stainless Steel, Rubber (Silicone), Paint, Acrylic (Plexiglas), Gold Plating, Fiberglas, Synthetic Fabric, Adhesive, Brass, Teflon, Phenolic Resin, Cadmium plating
  • foam
  • dolly - metal


  • Overall (BEAR) : 13ft 8in. x 3ft 7in. (416.56 x 109.22cm)
  • Overall (dolly) : 5ft 7in. x 4ft 7in. x 12ft (170.18 x 139.7 x 365.76cm)
  • Overall (arm of the dolly) : 7ft 1in. (215.9cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


SPACECRAFT-Unmanned-Instruments & Payloads

Inventory Number