Chinese researchers say capable of destroying Starlink satellite is essential for Chinese military

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China must be able to deactivate or destroy SpaceX’s Starlink satellite if it is a threat to national security. This is the opinion of at least one Chinese military researcher, who has just been published in a national academic journal. Modern defense technologyA document in which they propose a series of countermeasures aimed at undermining the American satellite network.

There are currently about 25,000 satellites in the Starlink constellation. This high-speed Internet access service has grown rapidly in the last three months and now has over 400,000 users worldwide. However, this success does not seem to please Yuanzhen Ren, a researcher Beijing Institute of Tracking and TelecommunicationsWho has just written a study outlining various ways to develop China’s anti-satellite capabilities – a study co-authored by several top scientists in China’s defense industry.

Some Starlink satellites should adopt a combination of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ destruction methods to lose their effectiveness and destroy the galaxy’s operating system. “, They write in the document, accordingly South China Morning Post. In particular, they mentioned the installation of a large, high-sensitivity surveillance system to track each of the Starlink satellites. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

An alliance with the American defense is considered suspicious

Elon Musk has always been acclaimed, even by the Chinese, the latter being particularly technologically-intelligent – China is one of the most important markets for Tesla. The billionaire was considered a model of innovation. However, its popularity began to falter last year, when the Starlink satellite almost twice collided with China’s under-construction space station Tiangong – forcing China to pursue a avoidance strategy. In December, Beijing even filed a lawsuit against the American operator at the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs. China then accused the United States of violating the space agreement by endangering its astronauts.

Space is large, but Earth’s orbit is more limited. In addition to the many space debris that already poses a permanent threat to space stations and ships, the proliferation of Starlink mini-satellites is exacerbating the situation. Every week they encounter about 1600 close spaceships! Hugh Lewis, head of the Astronautics Research Group at the University of Southampton, UK, estimates that eventually the Starlink network satellites will be involved in 90% of all connections below one kilometer.

However, the risk of collisions is not so great as to concern Ren and his co-authors. They point out that Starlink connections can increase the data transmission speed of American drones and stealth planes by more than 100 times. In addition, SpaceX has signed an agreement with the US Department of Defense to develop new technology based on the Sterlink platform. Chinese scientists are talking about a sensitive device capable of detecting and tracking hypersonic weapons. Starlink satellites are also equipped with ion thrusters, which allow them to quickly change orbits in preparation for an attack against enemy space targets, they report.

In fact, the SpaceX constellation can be used for other purposes. In 2020, two engineers at the University of Texas Radio Navigation Laboratory in Austin, for example, introduced a system based on the same satellite, capable of providing 10 times more position accuracy than GPS, although much less interference content – a “hard to block” navigation system. , According to MIT Technology Review.

The firmness and flexibility that scares the Chinese

Given the number of Starlink satellites in orbit, the system is considered particularly powerful; Even if a few are defective, the system as a whole will not be affected. That’s why Chinese scientists are working to develop new anti-satellite capabilities.

For example, they recommend launching a military payload-carrying satellite in the middle of a batch of Starlink devices. The Chinese military must improve its surveillance, to get the most accurate images from these satellites so that experts can detect any unusual features, they added. The country must be able to intercept the signal from each Starlink satellite to detect any threat.

The direct method (destruction by missiles) was abolished: it would not only create excessive debris, but it would not be too expensive and “profitable”. ” The Starlink constellation is a decentralized system. The collision is not about individual satellites, but about the whole system. This requires low cost and high efficiency Researchers say.

China is said to already have some anti-satellite technology, including laser and communication jammers. A Beijing-based astronaut who was not involved in the study noted that the mainstream Chinese approach was not to attack the Sterlink network, but to take “constructive” countermeasures. ” This means creating our own Internet satellite network “, He said South China Morning Post – China has actually launched a project similar to Starlink called Sternet. Anyway, this document sounds like an open call for attack by Starlink, underlining the expert.

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