By: April Carson
According to a team of Chinese researchers, who published a study proposing anti-satellite technologies that could destroy Elon Musk's Starlink satellites if necessary, they have.
The study's authors say that the Starlink system, which is currently being built by Musk's SpaceX company, poses a threat to China's space assets. They argue that the system could be used to blind or jam Chinese satellites, and that the debris from a destroyed satellite could damage other spacecraft.
The study was led by Ren Yuanzhen, a researcher with the Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications. The co-authors are scientists within China's defense industry according to South China Morning Post which has seen publication on this research in their newsletter.
A new report claims that researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory are developing a plan to use "a combination of soft and hard kill procedures" to destroy certain Starlink satellites.
The SpaceX-developed Starlink network is a satellite internet connection. It consists of thousands of tiny satellites in low-earth orbit, each one with an internet connection available for purchase to clients.
Another worry among the researchers was that the Starlink network might be utilized to boost the data transmission rate of US military vehicles, such as fighter jets.
"The system has the potential to exceed the data transmission rates of terrestrial 5G networks by orders of magnitude," the report said.
The researchers claimed that Starlink could also "interfere with other nations' military satellite communications."
It's not clear precisely what measures may be employed, however the study said that it should be "low-cost, high-efficiency," and that the entire network must be considered rather than single satellites.
If interceptors are required, the odds of a missile-based approach going ahead appear to be low. As previously stated, Starlink is made up of hundreds of tiny satellites, so it's hard to see how missiles would be able to destroy them all while being relatively cost effective and efficient. Lasers, microwave technology, or even smaller satellites could be used instead as part of a targeted attack.
Starlink has been used by the military as well, with greater speed than previously possible. The use of Starlink in this way also means that it is more likely to be militarized and weaponized in the future.
Concerns have been raised by governments with which the United States has political issues about SpaceX's military capacity, as well as the fact that it has launched more than 2,650 satellites into space in only a few years and aims to do so many more.
In July, Head of the Russian Roscosmos Space Agency Dmitry Rogozin sent a warning to Elon Musk, SpaceX's CEO, after Ukraine received Starlink technology and used it against Russia in the ongoing conflict.
According to an English translation posted by Musk, Rogozin claimed that Musk was involved in delivering "military communication equipment" to Ukraine and that he would be held accountable as an adult.
Musk responded to Rogozin's accusations in a tweet, saying that SpaceX is "not providing any equipment to Ukraine or supplying any services to the Ukrainian military."
China also informed the UN General Assembly's Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that its national space station was compelled to execute collision avoidance maneuvers after "numerous close encounters" with Starlink satellites on July 1 and October 21 last year, according to news reports.
As the number of Starlink satellites in orbit continues to grow, so too does the risk of collisions and the creation of space debris. In March, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 more Starlink satellites exploded on the launch pad, scattering debris over a wide area.
The story was originally published on Newsweek.com who has also reached out to SpaceX for comment.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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