China-US: Why is it necessary to prepare for a space war?

The operation, monitored from the ground by military radar and telescopes, sounded like a wake-up call for the Western Space Command. On January 22, in a geostationary orbit 36,000 km above Earth, the Chinese satellite Shijian-21, specialized in the theory of clearing space debris, approached a navigation satellite, Beidou-2G2, which is part of the 44 constellation. Chinese GPS forming satellites.

Flowing BeiDou-2 G2 is not only in geostationary orbit, but unlike similar devices, it is not completely stationary; It describes an ellipse, as if it were swinging at the end of a 36,000 km thread connected to the center of the earth. The combination of the two movements gives its trajectory the appearance of a giant spaghetti several thousand kilometers in width. It should come as no surprise to those who track and catalog the movements of satellites that Beidou 2G-2 was captured by SJ-21 at the end of an orbital run of months of extraordinary complexity and a distance of millions. At the end of the kilometer mission, the dormant Beidou was placed in Graveyard orbit where it would float until the end of time.

Until now, only the United States had mastered these space rendezvous techniques. Within days, the US Space Command as well as its European counterparts became aware of China’s capabilities. “Because obviously, everyone saw it as a show of force: if the Chinese were able to go and put one of their satellites into geostationary orbit, they could do it with another machine”, comments General Jean-Daniel Test. , former head of the Space Command (CDE). For space as in real life, the officer explained, weapons are by definition, and by destination, in the common case recovery satellites used to neutralize an enemy satellite. Another fear is an end-of-life satellite converted into a missile that would hit an observation or listening platform. “Any satellite is a potential weapon at the end of its life, as long as it still has the propulsion capability to be directed at enemy machines…”

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Chinese preparations

The two main weaknesses in collisions are intelligence and navigation systems. First, China and the United States have the ability to destroy most Earth observation satellites within hours, as well as electromagnetic listening platforms essential to the conduct of war. Dozens of devices can be neutralized within hours using missiles or high-powered lasers launched today from the ground and tomorrow from space. The only way to prevent the destruction of these space platforms is to build them in advance and plan the means of launch, hence the strategic importance of Space X whose launchers can be pre-empted by the Pentagon at any time.

National satellite positioning systems are particularly vulnerable. An independent analyst working for the US Space Command noted, “We’ve seen ultra-efficient Russian GPS interference in Ukraine costing tens of thousands of dollars. The Chinese have developed alternative geo-positioning solutions for their military navy and because all the smuggling and illegal fishing vessels are technologically assisted by the Chinese military to be discreet and without GPS.”

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The level of Chinese preparedness in the face of possible destruction of space navigation systems worries the Pentagon and NATO, which are also monitoring the development of guidance stations deployed by China, for example in Namibia and Argentina. These radio beacons, technologically classic but modern, that float or fly, such as hypersonic missiles that fly in low orbits and pass through the South Pole, will be able to thwart American anti-missile defenses concentrated in the North. Hemisphere. Fighting proteins and isolates in space. His preparations are accelerating.


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