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Space China Government Japan The Military United States

Preparing For Satellite Defense 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the road-to-kessler-syndrome dept.
Taco Cowboy sends a report into China's development of anti-satellite technology, and efforts by the U.S. and Japan to build defenses for this new potential battleground. Last year, China launched what they said was a science space mission, but they did so at night and with a truck-based launch system, which are not generally used for science projects. Experts believe this was actually a missile test for targets in geostationary orbit. U.S. and Japanese analysts say China has the most aggressive satellite attack program in the world. It has staged at least six ASAT missile tests over the past nine years, including the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007. ... Besides testing missiles that can intercept and destroy satellites, the Chinese have developed jamming techniques to disrupt satellite communications. In addition, ... the Chinese have studied ground-based lasers that could take down a satellite's solar panels, and satellites equipped with grappling arms that could co-orbit and then disable expensive U.S. hardware. To defend themselves against China, the U.S. and Japan are in the early stages of integrating their space programs as part of negotiations to update their defense policy guidelines. ... Both countries have sunk billions of dollars into a sophisticated missile defense system that relies in part on data from U.S. spy satellites. That's why strategists working for China's People's Liberation Army have published numerous articles in defense journals about the strategic value of chipping away at U.S. domination in space.
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Preparing For Satellite Defense

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18, 2014 @09:34AM (#47482531)

    Kessler syndrome. [wikipedia.org] Thanks, China!

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Friday July 18, 2014 @10:28AM (#47483089)

    Acts of war happen all the time - even armed conflict. Just because two nuclear powers go to war doesn't mean nukes will start flying - that probably triggers MAD and everybody loses. We're in new territory here - MAD mostly brought a cease-fire to the World War (parts I, II, and Cold), but that doesn't mean the conflicts are ended, it just means the rules fundamentally changed and, coupled with the implosion of the Soviet Union, we haven't yet had enough reason to work out the new rules of open conflict. But if there's anything history has taught us is that war never goes away for long. Hell, how many nuclear powers have been attacked by non-nuclear powers in the last century? You think the fact that I have nukes is going to make me dramatically *less* likely to attack a nuclear power than if I did not?

    The goal in nuclear-age warfare would seem to be to push your opponent as hard as you can without making MAD look like an attractive option. That is to say the potential winner has strong incentive to stick to reasonable demands - of course even total surrender might still be on the table, provided you could sufficiently appease the individuals capable of launching a nuclear strike. What do you think - is full citizenship under the new regime for your people and $100 billion each, paid discretely in gold to untraceable accounts, enough to convince most administrations that surrender of the nation they're currently leading is preferable to mutual annihilation?

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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