Russian, Chinese lasers threaten USA satellites: Pentagon
14 February, 2019, 03:40 | Author: Myra Gill
Efforts by Russian Federation and China to develop space technologies are challenging USA dominance in the space race and threaten to cripple its galactic security supremacy, a new report by the Pentagon has warned.
The increase in what's essentially orbiting garbage that could damage or destroy a satellite "has implications for policymakers worldwide and is encouraging the development of space debris removal technology", the agency said Monday in an unclassified publication on threats to USA satellites.
'Russia is also developing an airborne (anti-satellite) laser weapon system to use against space-based missile defence sensors, ' the report says.
According to Washington's intelligence, North Korea and Iran are also developing their space capabilities.
The report said space is growing busier, including as commercial flights advance, and the sphere is increasingly vital to military operations.
Hua said that if the U.S. is serious about space security, it should work with China to control arms development.
China and Russian Federation have developed counterspace capabilities, including ground-based missiles aimed at satellites, jamming of signals to or from satellites, ground-based directed energy weapons, kinetic-kill vehicles, space-based counters and more.
The Pentagon lists India as one of the nine countries and one global organisation which can independently launch spacecraft: China, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, the United States, and the European Space Agency (from French Guiana).
Additionally, Russia and China now have "enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target USA and allied forces", the report said.
Eight days later, the US shot down a failed spy satellite with a ballistic missile, something China had done the year before. "China and Russian Federation, in particular have taken steps to challenge the United States". But Rep. Mike Rogers, then-chairman of the US House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, told CNN in 2018 'the future of war will be fought in space.' 'Russia and China are surpassing us in space capabilities, and we need to dedicate a separate force exclusively with a space mission, ' he said.
The increase in orbiting garbage has spurred the development of space debris removal technology - but the agency warns that such technology is "dual-use because it could be used to damage another satellite". "As the number of satellites grows, so does the threats posed by space debris", the official said.
Of about 21,000 large objects in space measuring at least four inches, about 1,800 are active satellites, according to the defense agency. "The United States harnesses the benefits of space for communications, financial transactions, public safety, weather, agriculture, navigation and more".
Space is the common property of all mankind, not the private property of the Americans, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing.
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