A new Pentagon report has warned that China and Russian Federation were both developing space capabilities to threaten the U.S., including lasers that could target and destroy American satellites.
USA defense and intelligence officials say neither China nor Russian Federation has surpassed the U.S.in space capabilities, but that they are investing broadly to try to best the American military, and that they are now integrating weapons that could attack in space into their conventional units.
Last month, the Defense Intelligence Agency released a report about China's military capabilities, warning that the Asian country was making advances in counterspace technology that could threaten us satellites responsible for communications, reconnaissance, Global Positioning System and early warnings of missile launches.
China's foreign ministry condemned Tuesday the new Pentagon report unfounded which warns of Chinese and Russian space threats to the US national security. Space's role in commercial and civilian applications is growing, and it is absolutely vital to employing the US military, DIA officials noted.
"Challenges to Security in Space" explains why space is a "contested" domain and why other countries might attempt to disrupt USA satellites, for instance.
Of that space junk, more than a third is from China's use of a missile in 2007 to destroy a defunct satellite and the accidental collision between a USA communications satellite and a defunct Russian one in 2009, Bloomberg reported. "The report says Russian Federation and China are also developing 'inspection and servicing" satellites that could also be used to conduct attacks on satellites in orbit.
"These capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target USA and allied forces", it said.
China was also developing satellite inspection and fix techniques - some of which could function as weapons and speed up the development of space debris removal technology, the report said.
China is second only to the United States in the number of operational satellites, the report added.
"The advantage that the United States holds in space - and our perceived dependence on it - will continue to drive actors to improve their abilities to operate in and through space", the report says.
They both acquired counterspace services that could challenge space-based military assets.
It adds that China 'possibly already has a limited capability to employ laser systems against satellite sensors'.
One threat is a result of the successes in space.
In 2003, China became the third country to achieve independent human space flight with the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft, commanded by astronaut Yang Liwei. "The United States harnesses the benefits of space for communications, financial transactions, public safety, weather, agriculture, navigation and more". They are developing systems that pose a threat to freedom of action in space.
"Space is fundamental to US prosperity", the Pentagon official said.
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