China’s military scientists call for development of anti-Starlink measures

China must develop capabilities to disable and perhaps even destroy Starlink internet satellites, the country’s military researchers said in a paper published by Chinese Magazine Modern defense technology. The authors highlighted the possibility of Starlink being used for military purposes that could help other countries and threaten China’s national security. Corresponding South China tomorrow postthe scientists call for the development of anti-satellite capabilities, including both hard and soft kill methods. The former is used to physically destroy satellites, such as through the use of missiles, while a soft-kill method targets a satellite’s software and operating system.

In addition, the researchers propose developing a surveillance system that can track each individual Starlink satellite. That would address one of their concerns, which was the possibility of launching military payloads along with a number of satellites for the constellation. Translation Blog by David Cowhig published an English version of the paper along with another article from a government-sponsored website China’s military online who warned of the dangers of satellite Internet service.

“Although Starlink claims to be a civilian program providing high-speed Internet services, it has a strong military background,” it said. Its launch pads would be built inside military bases, it said, and SpaceX had previously received funding from the US Air Force to study how Starlink satellites could connect encrypted to military aircraft. The Chinese scientists warned that Starlink could increase the communication speed of fighter jets and drones by a hundredfold.

The author warns:

“Upon completion, Starlink satellites can be equipped with reconnaissance, navigation and meteorological equipment to further enhance the US military’s combat capabilities in areas such as reconnaissance, remote sensing, communications relay, navigation and positioning, attack and collision, and space protection.”

Between hard and soft killing, the researchers prefer the latter, since physically destroying satellites would produce space debris that could disrupt China’s activities. The country previously filed a complaint with the United Nations over the Tiangong space station’s near-collision with Starlink satellites. Apparently, the station had to perform evasive maneuvers twice in 2021 to minimize the chance of a collision. Destroying some satellites would not completely destroy the Starlink constellation either, as SpaceX has already done so started at this time more than 2,500 satellites.

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