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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

Chinese Laser vs. U.S. Sats?

"China has fired high-power lasers at U.S. spy satellites flying over its territory in... a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft," Defense News is reporting. And, at least in theory, those lasers might be able temporarily take offline America's most powerful orbiting spies, like the giant electro-optical Keyhole spacecraft or radar-based satellites like the Lacrosse.

starfire-optical-range-laser3.jpgNow, the article is a little short on details. "It remains unclear how many times the ground-based laser was tested against U.S. spacecraft or whether it was successful," the story says.

And there's a touch of hyperbole in the piece. According to the article, a recent Pentagon report "acknowledge[d] China has the ability to blind U.S. satellites, thanks to a powerful ground-based laser." That's not exactly right. What the report actually says isn't quite so definitive:

Evidence exists that China is improving its situational awareness in space, which will give it the ability to track and identify most satellites. Such capability will allow for the deconfliction of Chinese satellites, and would also be required for offensive actions. At least one of the satellite attack systems appears to be a groundbased laser designed to damage or blind imaging satellites.

Nevertheless, citing unnamed "top officials," the trade journal asserts that "China not only has the [anti-satellite] capability, but has exercised it. It is not clear when China first used lasers to attack American satellites. Sources would only say that there have been several tests over the past several years."

Within the U.S. military, there's a contingent that's been worried for years about China arming up like this. The other day, I was talking to an Air Force colonel, about the Pentagon's plans for "prompt global strike" -- the ability to launch, in a matter of hours, a bolt-from-the-blue attack against an enemy thousands and thousands of miles away. Some in the armed forces talk about the strikes as a way to take out an Iranian nuclear facility, a terrorist chieftain, or a North Korean missile on the launchpad. But this colonel had a different target in mind for the instant attack: a Chinese "anti-satellite, ground-based laser wreak[ing] havoc with our constellation."

If China really is pursuing such a weapon, it wouldn't be the only country looking at lasers to interfere with enemy eyes above the sky. In a 1997 test, the U.S. fired a chemical laser at a satellite orbiting 420 kilometers above the Earth. The "laser apparently had technical difficulties," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, "but the results of the test were startling."

A lower-power (30-watt) laser intended for alignment of the system and tracking of the satellite was the primary laser source used during the test, and it appeared that this lower-power laser was sufficiently powerful itself to blind the satellite temporarily, although it could not destroy the sensor.

These days, the Air Force's Starfire Optical Range is shooting lasers in the sky, trying to figure out how best to correct for atmospheric interference. Astronomers looking into the heavens will be the most immediate beneficiaries. But Starfire could help out anti-satellite weaponeers, too. These days, ground-based lasers aren't powerful enough -- or good enough at traveling through the air -- to permanently take out a satellite; the best the beams might be able to do is blind the thing, temporarily. That could change, if Starfire (or its Chinese equivalent) does its job right.

UPDATE 10:12 AM: Color Theresea Hitchens, the Center for Defense Information's resident spacewar guru, "not convinced – nor impressed."

The folks quoted in this story are neither space nor China experts -- and those folks are easy to find. And there is the odd timing: just as Griffin goes to China, over the earlier objections of Rummy and the P-gon. Statements like "China's burgeoning antisatellite capabilities..." -- who SAYS? Even the P-gon hasn't gone that far in its reports on Chinese Military Power.

All that said, I would NOT be surprised if the Chinese were testing a Ground-Based Laser. So are we, at Starfire Optical Range. If they lased U.S. satellites though, how do we know they were trying to blind them rather than TRACK them -- since we say Starfire is using lasers only to track sats? China doesn't have all that great tracking ability, and it needs it, not just to track our stuff but their own. There isn't any real way to tell, I don't think, what the INTENT behind such lasing would be.

NOT that it is a good thing -- lasing other people's sats without their consent, or at least specific statements of your intent to do only tracking, in peacetime ought to be off the playing field, hence the need for a code of conduct of some sort in space operations.

Finally, with regard to laser blinding -- it is not as easy as it sounds to "blind" an optical satellite with a laser. I'm no physicist, but as I understand it, imaging satellites usually work in several wavelengths, meaning first of all you'd have to have lasers in all the colors that match those wavelengths to blind the sat, not just one single wavelength laser beam. Secondly, because of the way imaging sats work, taking pictures of strips of the Earth using strips of pixels, you'd have to figure out how to blind all the pixels -- which apparently is so hard as to be well nigh impossible. And I note that as far as I know, we haven't gotten that far with Starfire, so what makes us so sure the Chinese are ahead of us there?

If you ask me, the story raises more questions than answers.


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Posted by: runescape gold at April 12, 2008 02:11 AM

"Finally, with regard to laser blinding -- it is not as easy as it sounds to "blind" an optical satellite with a laser. I'm no physicist, but as I understand it, imaging satellites usually work in several wavelengths, meaning first of all you'd have to have lasers in all the colors that match those wavelengths to blind the sat, not just one single wavelength laser beam. Secondly, because of the way imaging sats work, taking pictures of strips of the Earth using strips of pixels, you'd have to figure out how to blind all the pixels -- which apparently is so hard as to be well nigh impossible. And I note that as far as I know, we haven't gotten that far with Starfire, so what makes us so sure the Chinese are ahead of us there?"

Huhwhat? Lasers don't blind pixels, they blind optics.

Posted by: The_Merch at May 20, 2007 03:20 AM

20 of the satellites orbiting the earth landed in my backyard last thursday. China, you may come retreive your on June 6 and Russia yours was demolished in sorry. I have a HI TECH satellite reader in my back yard which i watch 23 hours a day. (1 hour off for bathroom breaks). thank you

Posted by: Candy Lemondrops at May 16, 2007 12:29 PM




Posted by: cobby at April 13, 2007 04:25 AM

One reason that the US may oppose banning weapons in space is because we already *have* nuclear weapons in space, in the form of the Ajax Project:

Posted by: Hank Mishkoff at January 23, 2007 02:37 PM

laser now missle

when will be impress

a tangle web

Posted by: edbk at January 21, 2007 07:44 PM

Knowledge is Power, Right??? Hence government employment of scientists developing advanced technology... nukes, satelites, various lasers, and other WMD to overwhelm any potential enemy if necessary and prevent them from attacking from any return address in the first place.

Governments even reverse-engineer quantum time-space travel platforms (chariots of fire) and weapons from aliens- the fallen Sons of God (the Annunaki) who create their hybrid super-human genetically engineered offspring, the Nephelim (That's where the Giants of Genesis 6 came from and the Giant Cananites in modern day Israel). Then they seek to prevent the ancient knowledge from helping humanity and they classify and supress it, for fear an ememy may find it and use it aganist them. This advanced knowledge can destroy the world if it is not properly respected and improperly used for evil purposes.

In the quest for knowledge about the plans of our many enemies, governments have intellegence services such as CIA, KGB, that use spy planes, satelites, etc...

Nicola Tesla was undoubtedly the greatest scientits of the modern era. His knowledge of the universe, plasma energy, and the time/space continuum can be used for great good as well as great evil as he well understood.

The latest generation of highly classified Super-Weapons of Mass Destruction based upon Quantum Potential (QP), Scalar ElectroMagentic Pulse (EMP), and focused Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) can render satelites, stealth bombers, nukes and lasers to be absolutely useless duds. "Modern Advanced Technologies" commonly known may become dudded or completely ineffective before they even begin to deploy anywhere because of projected or focused targeting of them from very far away (across the world) and because of defensive uses of Tesla Shield Technology over any potential target in the world (or elsewhere).

In clashes with the new generation of Super-Weapons, other weapons generally feared today are rendered totally and completely ineffective.

What does Col. Bearden say about Super-Weapons?

Powerful Ancient knowledge is being rediscovered by man(kind?). Can man handle this knowledge without destroying himself, the planet we here call home, & other colonies on nearby spheres? That is the difference between man and mankind.

The Lord of the Universe (Jesus) will return very soon to judge his creation and bring true peace to the world. But everything going wrong in the world goes worse before it gets better.

NASA and current world government institutions including the Vatican are desperately trying to hide or downplay The Sign of His Coming that they all see. Growing public knowledge of all these things will soon change everything and upset the balance of power in the world when common people find out that we did not come from apes, but were planted here by the Collective Sons of God tens of thousands of years ago before the coup attempt in heaven. After that, Advanced Civilizations have been destroyed by global cataclysms throughout progressive 3600 year cycles on planet Earth. The NWO hopes to be in complete control before the next great global cataclism culminating around 12/21/12.

Aliens (fallen angels or the "gods") will be a big part of the Great Deception of the end-times. They will finally "reveal" themselves in a huge worldwide televised event before 12/21/12 and bringing cures to diseases and various advanced technologies. They will say they come in "peace" and to "save" the world from complete destruction. Many people all over the world, will fall for it (the Bible says even the very Elect if that were possible- speaking of self professed "Christians" who are really materialistic apostates). Their true plans of the aliens are to have the world divided in "peices" and "enslave" the world under the political leader that has a wonderful 7 year "peace" plan between "Cristians", Muslims, and Jews to share Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Antichrist (the counterfeit) comes before the True Christ. He and his global government will use advanced 3D mind control imaging (that some governments already know about), which will be honed in more effectively through "The Mark", otherwise known as Positive ID Implant (Verichip?) that will be needed to buy or sell in the post dollar global economy. People who have the mark will lose their own soul, the ability to think/act for themselves. All the NWO people need to finally clamp down and implement "The Plan" is a global crisis! That can be easily achieved, as evidenced in the world news today!

Yes, it is part of "The Plan" of the global elites (illuminati-masons) to crash the dollar through hyperinflation very soon (replacing it with the Amero) and start unending wars, trade wars, and global chaos in a global recession that plunges the world into a global depression. Then the self-appointed global shephards will have a "solution" for all the hungry desperate sheople. An age old plan for unified global government and complete and total dominance (antichrist) "Out of global Chaos will emerge a New World Order".

Nostradamus spoke of "The Bearded Comet" that is hurtling towards the Earth right now (it has a red dust cloud surrounding it). This "comet" is otherwise known by the world's previously advanced cultures as The Destroyer or planet Nibiru. This brown dwarf star, or 10th planet is being hidden from us by NASA as they now regularly airbrush it out of SOHO Satellite imagery. Is there Global Warming? Yes, but not from the atmosphere because of normal human activity. The Sun and all planets are getting hotter as Nibiru gets closer because the poles are all trying to line up, which will culminate in a great polar shift on earth, causing the worldwide earthquake spoken of in Revalation, three days of complete darkness as the moon turns blood red from the poisonous comet trail.

Repent and Pray, as the true God of the Universe makes a way for his protected children who listen to him were there seems to be no way. It is not the End of the World coming but rather the End of the Age. Jesus and true peace will reign when his mothership comes down over ancient Jerusalem after the Great Deception.

"Look up for your redemption is drawing nigh!" Matthew 24

The good angels have advanced technology too...
Look up, pray, and say: "Beam Me Up, Jesus!!!"

Posted by: Gen. Michael at December 22, 2006 12:20 PM

HELSTF links for posterity ...

Posted by: ben at December 19, 2006 05:21 PM

China is the main manufacturer of semiconductor monochromic output devices (LEDs and lasers). They also a great number of harmonic crystals for conversion of IR light into various other frequencies, most notably through the 808nm to 1064nm to 532nm NdPO4 + KTP frequency doubling method. Years of buying cheap toys and gadgets from China are real going to pay off for us. At least semicondutor lasers are too weak to compete with chemical lasers like MIRACL, but 40 watt - 50 kilowatt diode arrays certainly have tactical purposes.

Posted by: L at November 19, 2006 07:05 PM


Your tinfoil hat is on a little too tight.

Posted by: Chicken Sock Puppet at November 15, 2006 10:29 PM

China is more dependant on america than america is on china. America was wealthy well before china even had the light bulb. America and other western countries built chinas economy. All that capital investment, and you chinese people have the nerve to blind our spy satelites.

So the chinese have the right to BLIND ameircan satelites with an offensive weapon (attacking an american asset). You also may argue china has the right to steal our military secrets too (Because your country cant create its own weapons) look at your J-10 fighter, a carbon copy of the israeli lavi/f-16. Then you haev India who actually can make their own jet fighter.

Your argument that china has more right to blind american saetlite is like argueing that if a tourist tried taking your picture, you'd have more of a right to break their camera than they do in taking your picture.

Whenever the great war with china happends (hopefully for chinas sake it never happends) america will be the victor.

China needs to abandon its backwards marxism, and its command economy.

If there was free trade between the west and china, china wouldnt be able to export anything...

everything i've ever owned from china has had serious malfunctions, the build qualtiy is horrible, the impurities in their steel is abundant. Ever see stainless steel that is 1/4 inch thick snap in half like a piece of briddle clay? IF so, wouldnt doubt it said made in china on the back.

Posted by: joe at November 8, 2006 03:05 PM

I think that China gets its science and tech leap by sending students to the leading universities in the US.
They return back to China with high degrees in mathematics, physics, electrical and aeronautical engineering etc.

Posted by: David at November 3, 2006 04:09 PM

Never liked politics. But man, you Americans are arrogant. When more than 600 millions people in China are still struggling for food and water you guys0 are so concerned about their "future threat".

I am doing the same work here in Canada as what I was doing in China, and I get paid 60 times more!

One litter of head and shoulders used to cost me one full days wage and now i can buy 4 with one hours pay. Not to mention that lots people in China can even afford Head and shoulders.

You guys are so used to sitting on your lazy a$$ making the rest of world working hard to maintain your luxury life style and are so scared of losing it.

You already richest one in the comunity. if you are so afraid that the rest of the comunity is gonna join together and rob you, you can either take them all out all try to bring them all rich. Too bad, this is the only comunity you can stay and you won't be able kill all of those , suck it up princess.

Posted by: A.A (Arrogant Americans) at October 20, 2006 06:11 AM

You're obviously no physicist. You'd only need one laser in most situations, I've burned out optical sensors with 4 mW 632nm radiation in the lab. You know those webcams. Anything above 2 mW for longer than an hour will leave permanent damage. If the Chinese want to fire lasers at US satelites they can, but then the US can do the same thing as well.

Posted by: Foton at October 15, 2006 05:26 AM

China has more rights to attack the US satellite than the US spying on China. Wake up people, seems the US can do whatever it likes and no one has the right to question and retaliate! Millions dead in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and the list is growing. Illegal wars, support for terrorist regimes, such as the Israeli govt who leveled a nation just for two soldiers. You should be questioning the US, as to who gave them the right to spy on China. Americans should understand that the US is not the center of this earth, it is shared by many people and cultures that may not be palatable to Americans. Put yourselves in someone else's shoes for once. For once you may understand why this world is retaliating.

Posted by: MD at October 6, 2006 12:16 PM

Yes, Chinese weapons are all over the middle east. China is Iran's chief arms supplier, and Iran is China's chief oil supplier, providing more than 10% of China's oil consumption. This is perhaps a key reason why China continues to block sanctions against the mullah theocracy. Chinese shoulder mounted rockets turned up in the Israel-Hezbollah war, and it was a Chinese missile C-802 fired by Hezbollah that slammed into Israel's battleship 'Hanit.' China is also a military supplier to Sudan and Syria.
In my opinion, of course China could become a major threat in the future. Let us not forget they continue to align with any state opposed to the US while pretending to be a friend of the west. And let us not forget the incredible 18 million trade deficit between the US and China; while China sells its sweat shop and labour camp produced goods to the west, they buy very little back in return; they purposely deflate their own currency to hollow out the US economy (though they have conceded a small amount of ground to relieve tensions as of late); and lets not forget they run actual concentration camps where they torture, kill, and harvest bodily organs for profit. trading with China is like trading with the Soviets or the Nazis, but Bush claims the Chinese are needed as a counterwieght to anti-US sentiment amongst their rouge-state allies; what Bush doesn't realise is that why should China care? Is China really a friend of the west? They feed off the west, but does the west need them? No, in my opinion, of course not. Why do we need them?
So far, there has been no significant proxy confrontation to reveal the CCP's true intentions, which Beijing is probably happy about because they can continue to strengthen 'peacefully' until their time comes. Surely you've heard the publicised speeches by the likes of former PLA Vice Chairman Chi Haotian and UN Diplomat Sha Kuzang? They should leave no doubts in your mind as to the long term goals of the CCP.

Posted by: Illuminus Prime at October 1, 2006 02:27 AM

Right on, Astroguy. The capabilities of our enemies in past years have exceeded our intelligence estimates of those capabilities in far too many instances. The records of Chinese spying into several of our research programs has never been completely revealed. We are concerned about illegal Mexicans; how about illegal Chinese in the Northwest and western Canada?

Posted by: lostfile at September 30, 2006 03:38 AM

Please people! Let all go back to sleep! China is our friend, China is our freiend, China...zzzzzzzz
We have entered the "Vegas" portion of our self distruction, that is where you win some money from the House and use that money to win more. Well, we are paying for all of those goods from China and the US trade deficit is paying for these weapons and programs. Let's just hope our neighbors to the south can make really good, low cost high energy lazers.

Posted by: Rork Brown at September 29, 2006 01:04 PM

"The West has been at war with China since the begining of the Cold War. Anyone who thinks differently is just uninformed. "

China needs the West just as much as we need them, its a mutually beneficial partnership.

"China continues to prove it by backing every rogue state (like Iran) that causes problems "

Those Chinese are just all over Iraq, aren't they? Chinese weapons everywhere.
And how do you figure their relationship with Israel?

Your paranoia/xenophobia is showing.

Posted by: Wembley at September 29, 2006 11:30 AM

The West has been at war with China since the begining of the Cold War. Anyone who thinks differently is just uninformed. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, ect. That war has never stopped and China continues to prove it by backing every rogue state (like Iran) that causes problems and interfers with Western interests. As well as having a stronger spying program than what the KGB was running during the height of the Cold War.

Posted by: CSA at September 28, 2006 11:38 PM

They do want to invade Tiawan moron. China, along with russia seeks to undermine the United States Global Superiority because they do not agree with our principles of freedom and democracy. If we stopped buying junk from china, they would go bankrupt almost overnight. We did not defeat communism in the cold war by allowing it to grow and prosper and threaten us even more then it already did. China shows by its support of rouge states and tyrannical dictatorships world over that it cannot be trusted in any area.
But will we ever have the courage to do the right thing in the interest of national security?
only time will tell.

Posted by: Jonathan at September 28, 2006 12:49 PM

Just because it's not in the article, doesn;t mean that the people talking about it are making it up.

China has grouund-based lasers, just like the Soviet Union had them. If the PRC was using the ground-based lasers, the US is not going to publicize it, unless there is something substantial to gain. Mark my words, if it would get them more funding or save an imperiled program, the info will be made public.

Just because Theresa Hitchens doesn't know about or just because it's not in the open literature, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

So "poo-poo" the story all you want. But Theresa or anyone else hasn't proven the negative yet.

Posted by: Astroguy at September 28, 2006 11:52 AM

You say China "will be a threat" as if its the end of the world. Are you Americans so xenophobic and ignorant of the outside world that you do not understand the right for other countries to become more influential in their OWN regions?
Do not forget that the DoD has/is pursued such a laser program way before the PRC.
P.S sif US businessmen raking in millions of bucks from Chinese import/exports give a goddamn crap about your country.
rant end/

Posted by: Matt Wei at September 27, 2006 05:25 PM

"China is going to be a huge threat in the very near future" is rhetoric that's been popular since Napoleon Bonaparte made that "sleeping giant" crack in 1803. Yes, folks, that's 203 years ago! Somwhow China is always "going to be a huge threat in the very near future" - but that future never arrives.

Or maybe it's just that the jealous racist paranoid xenophobes are - y'know - kooks.

Posted by: Howard Sux at September 26, 2006 03:41 PM

"The Chinese are litterally laughing all the way to the bank."

Really! Literally? Who would suspect that the Chinese were so damn jolly in their daily comings and goings.

Does that get anoying for bank tellers after a while?

Posted by: Allen at September 26, 2006 11:55 AM

Ironically enough, this is a capability which the US is currently developing.

Maybe it looks better if there's a Chinese 'threat' to match. Like that Hafnium gap with the Russians :)

Chinese defense spending is less than 1/6 of the US as far as I can tell. What can they spend it on that's not going to be 'threatening' - if they spent it on AK-47's there's someone who'd say this was a dangerois expansion of their capability and a sure sign they were going to invade Taiwan.

Posted by: Wembley at September 26, 2006 07:39 AM

To Will Wheeler:

Of course people see it. But most just want cheap items, they dont think about how the money is being funneled to China's economy and there spending it all one there military.

China's economy is growing fast...probably to fast for its own good. Its already severely drawing deep lines in the Chinese people...theres barely even an average income...Its either you got plenty of dough, or your broke and dont even have clean water. Most of China is an absolute mess. but the parts that you see on tv are only of there big cities.

Most of China's military is Russian, there still a ways behind the US (technologically), but at there rate they could be caught up in just 15-20 years (I'm talking militarily...not cell phones & cameras).

And I think this story is bogus.
If they did do that...could that not be an act of war?

Posted by: Murc at September 26, 2006 12:03 AM

The Chinese are litterally laughing all the way to the bank. The Chinese are supplying the West's insatiable consumer appetite for cheap goods, and at the same time are using that income to rapidly expand their economy and military. And because of this rapid growth, the Chinese are able to catch up to the west technologially.

Are people really that ignorant and shortsighted that they can not see the connection? China is going to be a huge threat in the very near future, and we still have a chance to stop it, but it would seem that people care more about cheap ipods, and sneakers than the future of their own country.

Posted by: Will Wheeler at September 25, 2006 09:22 PM


The laser used for the 1971 test seems to have been the one at the Malabar, Florida USAF facility.

Posted by: Allen Thomson at September 25, 2006 08:26 PM

The Bomber Gap, the Missile Gap, the Hafnium Gap, the Laser Gap ... doesn't anyone ever get tired of the same old song and dance?

Posted by: Noah (the other one) at September 25, 2006 07:24 PM

The lasers are for distance and speed tracking.
- The End

Posted by: anon at September 25, 2006 06:38 PM

How about admitting that the Chinese might be ahead in technology. The US is not he be and end all of technological innovation.

Posted by: CdeNyikayedu at September 25, 2006 05:08 PM

I'm no expert on the subject, but if the sensors are CCD's I believe a sufficiently powerful beam would "overload" the pixels it was hitting and depending on the sensor design the charge may trickle over to ajacent pixels, reguardless if the beam was only a narrow wavelength. To counter it, you could "turn the brightness down" but that would dim other wavelengths too (making them useless). Another way would be to have a set of physical filters that could block the offending wavelengths. It's been awhile since I was up to date on CCD technology, so none of this may be the case any more, but some of the satelites are probably old enough that they're using old CCD technology.

Posted by: Chris at September 25, 2006 03:42 PM

"China can't blind our birds, dude," says one Defense Department insider. "They want to... but they are a long ways off."

Posted by: Noah Shachtman at September 25, 2006 02:51 PM

I'm not a physicist, nor an engineer, but the idea of blinding a synthetic aperture radar with a laser doesn't make sense. Light and radio waves are complete separate wavelengths, so a laser should have no effect on a radar receiver.

I'm also a little dubious on the notion that a laser can blind an electro-optical sensor. I was under the impression that our sats use full-color sensors. Wouldn't you need to shine multiple laser frequences at the same sensor in order to effectively blind it?

Posted by: Robot.Economist at September 25, 2006 02:22 PM

This doesn't make any sense. You don't "test" your satilite blinding laser against a forgin satillite. You fire it. And there is no reason to:

1) The DoD is unlikely to give you good test results back.

2) You show your capabilities.

Posted by: Whitey at September 25, 2006 01:51 PM

“If you keep looking over the fence at you neighbor’s back yard, you’re going to get poked in the eye, so it’s not surprising that China might be worried about U.S. forces stationed on their doorstep,” Thompson said. “They don’t like it and are figuring out how to poke us in the eye. Now I’m no great admirer of the Chinese leadership, but how would we feel if the Chinese had their aircraft carriers off Long Island. That’s why we have to do a better job of protecting ourselves and I’m afraid that’s not what we’re doing.”

I like the analogy. But how come the conclusion being drawn here is that the U.S. should do a better job of protecting ourselves? So when you pry on your neighbor's back yard next time, be sure to wear a goggle!

Posted by: At the Money at September 25, 2006 01:43 PM

Ace satellite tracker Peter Brown says...

I doubt that the Chinese would be illuminating or interfering with anybody's satellites at this time. Besides pursuing countermeasures to fend off a repeat of the successful satcom signal blocking carried out by Falun Gong a few years ago, the Chinese are aggressively pitching their regional space cooperation plan aka APSCO. Also, with the Chinese focusing so intensively on their upcoming round of the Olympics, and the need for so much live TV traffic to flow over international satcom and telecom assets in general, it would be unwise at best for them to engage in the type of activity described
here. While one cannot turn a blind eye on the anti-satellite dimension of the laser technology curve, there is far more interest these days across the board in laser-driven intersatellite links as well as optical links to near space assets via platforms like ORCLE, and finally, in direct satcom optical links to submarines.

Posted by: Noah Shachtman at September 25, 2006 01:42 PM

The interesting thing to me is, simultaneous to this, how heavily the Chinese have been hyping Griffin's visit as a boost for Sino-US space
cooperation. After plugging the visit quite a bit before it happened, it's now become "a new chapter in China-US space cooperation," complete with a 4-point action plan -- a sure-fire way to know the Chinese mean business... (Although Griffin did demure and refer to "key differences" to be worked out.) Of course, the Chinese have little to lose and much to gain from cooperation (or even the appearance of it), but they have to know that even superficial cooperation leads to at least some degree of transparency. And this is definitely an area where every little bit of (reciprocal)
transparency can help...

A bunch of these have come across my RSS reader the last few days, but these are the most representative:

Posted by: Matthew Tompkins at September 25, 2006 10:44 AM

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