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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

Who Ordered the Satellite Strike?

I spoke with John Pike, the long-time military space observer and director of GlobalSecurity.org, shortly after the news broke that the Chinese had destroyed a satellite, more than 500 miles above the Earth. He wondered how much "adult supervision" there had been of the sat-killer test. Perhaps this was a small group of China star warriors looking to teach the U.S. a lesson, he mused -- not a big, strategic move from the chiefs in Beijing.

gps-3.jpgNow, there have been lots of theories about why China decided now to conduct their anti-satellite test. Maybe it was a way to scare the Bush administration back to the negotiating table. Maybe it was done to compete with India's recent ballistic missile test. Maybe it was a designed to show the U.S. how costly an intervention on Taiwain's side would be. (The CIA is "especially concerned," because "the Chinese have become so adept at camouflage," according to Aviation Week.)

Today's analysis in the New York Times, however, seems to lend credence to Pike's guess. "Bush administration officials said that they had been unable to get even the most basic diplomatic response from China," the paper says. Those American officials "were uncertain whether China’s top leaders, including President Hu Jintao, were fully aware of the test or the reaction it would engender."

The American officials presume that Mr. Hu was generally aware of the missile testing program, but speculate that he may not have known the timing of the test. China’s continuing silence would appear to suggest, at a minimum, that Mr. Hu did not anticipate a strong international reaction, either because he had not fully prepared for the possibility that the test would succeed, or because he did not foresee that American intelligence on it would be shared with allies, or leaked.

In an interview late Friday, Stephen J. Hadley, President Bush’s national security adviser, raised the possibility that China’s leaders might not have fully known what their military was doing.

“The question on something like this is, at what level in the Chinese government are people witting, and have they approved?” Mr. Hadley asked.

ALSO:
* China Tests Satellite Killer?
* China Space Attack: Unstoppable
* Beijing's Next-Gen Sat Strike
* Satellite Killer's Big Impact
* Why Did China Smack the Sat?
* China Sat-Killer Not Yet Weapons Grade?

Comments

The dragon lashed its tail and swept a third of the stars out of the sky and hurled them to earth.I can see Chinas testing is in fact a test to an upcoming global domination from China since its emergence with Russia on a military basis.Its a pre-move to this action and Chinas aquisition of global oil and deals confirms this.To cripple the US is its aim and I encourage the US to rely on alternate communicae via radio to backup in case of a satellite intrusion.All this goes for anything that relies on satellites.No back up or guidance dependant on these can operate without them.Imagine troops and vehicles inoperable because of the interruption of signal.Its silly to put all your eggs in one basket so to say and good reason.Have back up its the only way to go that keeps on going.This destruction of satellites goes to far in these times and as for China,historically these actions are the pretext for its first stike in what may become no future for many.Do not dismiss all these signs we've been given!When launched its like a jury who heard the wrong thing,you cannot take it back even if told to disregard and the aftermath is an I told you so.Priority one should be what plans do we have in place of a communicae breakdown of defense around the world and what are we going to do if struck first?Very nasty business.Preparation needs emplaced expedititiously,urgency critical.

Posted by: michaelangeloh at January 28, 2007 03:29 PM


Maybe the China just wanted to put a mass of space junk in low earth orbit to hinder spy satillites orbits. There will be a large mass of junk in the 500 mile level that can damage or destroy space craft in the region.

Greg

Posted by: GREGORY BREWER at January 26, 2007 09:22 AM


It's funny because the Administration's latest calls for improving space defense were in response to claims that China was sharpening it's "warfighting space skills". I remember being told that this was all nonsense, and that China hadn't the tech or the political will to do such a thing...

Posted by: Jim at January 23, 2007 01:11 PM


Then there's the fact the Bush administration's all for the militarization of space itself.

It's been so since Cheney and Rumsfeld put their PNAC position together in the 90s ( see http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf).

Then there's all the goodies the Air Force and DARPA have put together, from the Rods from God to their laser weapons to the subspace fighter. You know better than anyone. You've done an excellent job of documenting it.

The silence could be the attitude somebody with real juice has once they've unequivocally shown a schoolyard bully they can be bested at their own game.

Posted by: kelley b. at January 22, 2007 05:14 PM


The debate over who was in charge, and whether China's top leadership gave their nod of approval is wonderfully academic, but steers us away from other elements of the test that remain unverified. Besides the fact that the test itself is still unverified by the parties which conducted it, the first and most fictional element is that the recently failed NRO satellite fell victim to a nasty blow dealt by the same team which brought down the Chinese weather satellite. Of course, absolute fiction.

Second, the ballistic missile launch served as a decoy and made it appear that a kinetic kill vehicle had been deployed, when in fact the purpose of the test was to destroy a satellite with a much smaller satellite that had been shadowing the target for weeks if not months completely undetected even after the time of detonation. In this model, any last minute maneuvering by the satellite was in fact a simulation of evasive action which proved unsuccessful. Of course, somewhat fictional.

Finally, what enabled the target acquisition? Was this technology and/or software home-grown, a knockoff or obtained through covert means from a third party overseas? These two questions are just that. Do we simply not ask them?

Posted by: satellite pete at January 22, 2007 03:03 PM


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