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Space China Government Japan The Military United States

Preparing For Satellite Defense 118

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 wiredog ( 43288 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @10:29AM (#47482487) Journal

    New since, umm, the 1960's? 1980's, anyway. The US has tested several different ASATs over the years, and has long had countermeasures. I assume other countries have countermeasures as well.

  • by alexander_686 ( 957440 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @10:39AM (#47482605)

    Asymmetric warfare. The US has more space assets and is more heavily dependent on them. If space warfare ever occurred the US would be hurt relatively more. And I have a hard time of thing of any decent countermeasures.

  • so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @10:49AM (#47482713)

    Given that the US is almost assuredly got armed satellites in orbit, and the US Airforce has a unmanned space shuttle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

    I think it's a bit silly to call this anything other than "Common sense" on China's part. At the very least during an armed conflict the US could use these satellites to spy on China... at worst they could nuke them from orbit. If they didn't have an anti-satalite program they'd be remiss in their duties I'd think.

  • Could be worse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aprentic ( 1832 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @10:53AM (#47482737) Homepage

    The US has military satellites for a reason.
    Given that the US has a reputation for invading countries they don't like it only makes sense to defend against them and there are several potential strategies for doing so.
    I feel much better about China going the defensive route (get ready to blow up the satellites) rather than the MAD route (start stockpiling nukes).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18, 2014 @11:26AM (#47483063)

    Asymmetric warfare is a misnomer. All warfare is waged by two non-symmetric sides.

    That said, the idea that if space warfare ever occurred, (in this scenario) the US would be hurt relatively more, is a shortsighted assumption. Your premise is based on the belief that no matter how hard the U.S. gets hit, it would refuse to retaliate in equal or greater strike(s).

    The car analogy would be: if your neighbor destroys your car engine with thermite; you don't retaliate by slashing his car tires, you retaliate by shoot him dead in the drive way because you're terrified of what he'll use next.

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @11:35AM (#47483143)

    If there's a war with another superpower it's all over anyways because any general who see his realtime intelligence assets quickly going away is going to assume it's part of a preemptive strike plan and so will recommend we launch. That's why the idea of blinding the enemy is so dangerous, in a MAD scenario the only thing keeping the peace is the ability to verify that your enemy is not trying to perform a first strike.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18, 2014 @01:08PM (#47484003)

    Seems like submarines will rule then(as they already do now). If you can't lob one from the other side of the globe, you can still pop up out of nowhere and deliver your payload in 5 minutes or less.

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