Satellites: soft underbelly of the American military

China’s Jan. 11 anti-satellite test took place on the same day that Army LTG Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned Congress in testimony that China had joined Russia in likely possessing an ASAT capability.

Air Force officials have confirmed that on at least one occasion, China “painted” American satellites with a ground-based laser.

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said China’s test showed that there is an urgent need to establish a new international treaty on space weapons.

Sen. Jon L. Kyl (R-Ariz.), however, argued that the Chinese test is a “wake-up call” that the US must take more physical steps to protect its assets in space.

Kyl argued against the treaty idea as wishful thinking, saying that such agreements would do little to dissuade other countries from developing ASAT capabilities or other space weapons…

Space treaties are hard to enforce, Kyl warned.  Surprises such as China’s ASAT test can occur with little warning.  Nuclear anti-proliferation treaties have done little to stem the spread of nuclear technology to countries such as North Korea and Iran, he said.

Kyl also noted that US “space denial” systems now in development seek only to temporarily blind or silence adversary satellites, not destroy them.  “Clearly, the Chinese do not feel similarly encumbered,” Kyl said.

— John A. Tirpak, “Washington Watch” (see section “2007 Threat Briefing”).  Air Force magazine (pp. 16-17), March 2007.

Category: National Defence  Tags:
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
3 Responses
  1. Colin says:

    So where can I read more about this Chinese “Death Star”, code named the Allan Parson’s Project?
    And is it true they have perfected sharks with frickin laser beams attatched to their heads?

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    Hah! If it’s as boring as the real Alan Parsons Project, we may be in for some big trouble indeed.
    Details are sparse, but I did find this link on SpaceDaily covering China’s “painting” of an American satellite. Ground-based lasers mind you, nothing as exciting as a fully armed and operational battle station.

  3. Colin says:

    Well damn, we should get on that. And don’t build the thing with a 2m wide exhaust port.
    And we need more R&D into sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads.