China jamming test sparks U.S. satellite concerns

Discussion in 'Modern' started by syscom3, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I just keep smiling about such stuff.

    Its only a matter of time before China flex's its muscles and scares the crap out of the countries in its region.

    http://today.reuters.com/news/artic...33_RTRUKOC_0_US-ARMS-SPACE.xml&src=rss&rpc=22

    By Andrea Shalal-Esa

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China has beamed a ground-based laser at U.S. spy satellites over its territory, a U.S. agency said, in an action that exposed the potential vulnerability of space systems that provide crucial data to American troops and consumers around the world.

    The Defense Department remains tight-lipped about details, including which satellite was involved or when it occurred.

    The Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office Director Donald Kerr last week acknowledged the incident, first reported by Defense News, but said it did not materially damage the U.S. satellite's ability to collect information.

    "It makes us think," Kerr told reporters.

    The issue looms large, given that U.S. military operations have rapidly grown more reliant on satellite data for everything from targeting bombs to relaying communications to spying on enemy nations.

    Critical U.S. space assets include a constellation of 30 Global Positioning Satellites that help target bombs and find enemy locations. This system is also widely used in commercial applications, ranging from car navigation systems to automatic teller machines.

    The Pentagon also depends on communications satellites that relay sensitive messages to battlefield commanders, and satellites that track weather in critical areas so U.S. troops can plan their missions.

    "Space is a much bigger part of our military posture than it used to be, so any effort by the Chinese or anybody else to jam our satellites is potentially a big deal," said Loren Thompson, defense analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute.

    FRESH CONCERNS

    Clearly, the incident sparked fresh concerns among U.S. officials and watchdog groups about the U.S. ability to determine if satellite problems are caused by malfunctions, weather anomalies like solar flares, or targeted attacks.

    Air Force Space Commander Gen. Kevin Chilton said it was often difficult to know exactly what happened to satellites orbiting from 125 to 22,400 miles above the earth.

    "We're at a point where the technology's out there and the capability for people to do things to our satellites is there. I'm focused on it beyond any single event," Chilton said.

    Satellites are also vulnerable to man-made and natural events affecting their ground stations and the links between the station and the satellite, he told reporters last week.

    Theresa Hitchens of the Center for Defense Information cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the Chinese incident.

    Beijing may have been testing its capability to track satellites, not damage them, Hitchens said. "We don't know their intent, and we don't have the capability to know."

    Hitchens also noted current technology made it difficult to identify anything smaller than a baseball in the orbits where spy satellites fly, a capability that needed to be improved.

    At the same time, she said, the Pentagon would be prudent to use lower-cost and lower-risk systems closer to earth to do some critical tasks like surveillance and communications.

    ANTI-SATELLITE WEAPONS?

    Hitchens also emphasized that it would be extremely difficult to disable a satellite with a laser -- and even U.S. scientists had not developed a system to do that.

    But there is growing concern among lawmakers about U.S. efforts to develop such anti-satellite weapons.

    House of Representatives lawmakers tried to block a planned test of Starfire, a satellite and star tracking program, for fiscal 2007 after learning it could also be used as an anti-satellite weapon. The funds were reinstated only after the Air Force assured lawmakers it would be used only for tracking.

    The Chinese incident also underscored the need to develop an international code of conduct for space. Currently, there are no specific rules or treaties governing behavior of the 40 countries that operate satellites, and about a dozen countries that have launch capability, Hitchens said.
     
  2. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Messages:
    20,140
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Washington State
    While you are smiling, I'm looking over my shoulder at China. They worry the $hit out of me. Just try to find what percentage of the GDP they spend on defense. You can't. They make claims in the single digits, but DoD and State Dept claim very much in the double digit realm. Only a matter of time before something occurs in the Sprattley Islands between China and Japan or China and Tiawan. And we'll be in the middle of it. Scary.
     
  3. P38 Pilot

    P38 Pilot Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,814
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Student in High School
    Location:
    Auburn,Alabama; USA
    I dont trust China. They are not doing much to even solve the whole N. Korea nuclear weapons program either. Its like they want Kim Jong Il to launch their first nuclear missile.

    Sorry if that was off topic, but Im starting to wonder if China can be trusted. Probably not...
     
  4. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Still a student
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    Too bad. But our relations frayed pretty quickly after WWII.
     
  5. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,128
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Priest
    Location:
    Deepest Darkest NZ
    Home Page:
    China to misquote Churchill, is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

    Kiwimac
     
  6. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Messages:
    20,140
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Washington State
    sounds like Confucius
     
Loading...

Share This Page