War in Space?
What is the Potential For War in Space?
The potential of war in space is beginning to look like a viable possibility in the near future due to the many countries now jockeying for use of the final frontier. Space is not the playground of just the United States and Russia any longer. China has significant resources dedicated to space and the use of it. It appears that a great part of China's interest in space is for military use. China has recently been engaged in military action in space that presents a possible threat to U.S. interests. Russia still uses space significantly for military purposes. Other countries with nuclear weapons capabilities are using space for their objectives as well. With all these new threats present in space, the U.S. will have to become more vigilant in its patrolling of space and use of it, especially to protect its citizens, and to help prevent a war in space.
China's Latest Actions Promote War in Space
With China's destruction of one of its own aging low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites in recent months, they have sent a clear message to the world that they are capable of eliminating any low-Earth-orbit satellite from any country. What is surprising about China's satellite shootdown is that they had promised to use space for peaceful purposes. Their launch took place without any prior notification to any other space-enabled countries, who have around 3,000 scientific, commercial, and military satellites. China apparently hoped to keep the test a secret, but it is believed that the U.S. intelligence had prior knowledge of the test. Even after the satellite shootdown, Beijing claimed it was a peaceful scientific experiment.
The Chinese satellite's destruction added somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 pieces of debris to the existing debris field in space. This one Chinese ASAT test polluted space with approximately 40 percent of the total amount of junk in space. Of all the debris in space, nearly 2,600 pieces are trackable from Earth. The larger pieces could damage space vehicles in their paths. The U.S. has already averted many of its spacecraft from Chinese space debris.
The war in space is heating up since China has clearly shown it can not only track, but also destroy LEO satellites. This would include weather, communications, surveillance and global-positioning birds. Chinese military actions emphasize the need to for the ability to counter any foe's military satellites during initial phases of a campaign to blind and cripple the enemy. Adding to the tension after the launch, China was initially silent, then denied the incident for two weeks.
China's abilities and intentions are clear to the U.S. They have clearly indicated that they will seek to eliminate any U.S. satellites if a war in space does ever take place. This will be one of China's first objectives. Now that they have tested their ASAT weapons, they know they have the ability to proceed in the future.
China's efforts don't stop with their satellite shootdown capabilities. They have also been developing non-kinetic means of attacking satellites. These methods include blinding or jamming satellites with the use of lasers, microwave, particle beam and electromagnetic pulse weapons. Many experts believe the future weapons being developed will be these types because they effectively eliminate the satellites abilities without creating mass debris fields.
There is more information available on the potential war in space that is brewing between the U.S. and China. Read the entire article, The methods mentioned above along with other destructive technologies are being used by China to gain ground in space and their use of it.