Re: Whatever happened
"To space lasers which could fire down on missiles?"
I'm guessing that you're thinking of the 'space' lasers in Reagan's SDI (Star Wars) scheme - these were one-shot X-ray lasers and were to be powered by nuclear explosions.
The initial plan was for them to be satellite based i.e. pre-launched and already in orbit, prior to the advent of any conflict. However, the US was one of the State Parties to the Outer Space Treaty, which forbade the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. A later variant of the scheme saw the X-ray laser devices (a package combining the nuclear device and the metal X-ray aiming and focusing rods) launched on a pop-up basis when it was realised that devices in orbit were too vulnerable.
Apparently, a proving test, via an underground nuclear shot, only provided questionable and "marginal" positive results.