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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

Why Did China Smack the Sat? (Updated)

So why did China blow up one of their satellites last week? The Times offers up a few possible explanations:

china2402.jpg

Having a weapon that can disable or destroy satellites is considered a component of China’s unofficial doctrine of asymmetrical warfare. China’s army strategists have written that the military intends to use relatively inexpensive but highly disruptive technologies to impede the better-equipped and better-trained American forces in the event of an armed conflict — over Taiwan, for example...

Some analysts suggested that one possible motivation was to prod the Bush administration to negotiate a treaty to ban space weapons. Russia and China have advocated such a treaty, but President Bush rejected those calls when he authorized a policy that seeks to preserve “freedom of action” in space. Chinese officials have warned that an arms race could ensue if Washington did not change course.

Now, Beijing officials aren't even admitting they destroyed the orbiter, yet. But the China Matters blog uncovers a post by a self-proclaimed Chinese soldier, who seems to reinforce the scare-'em-into-cutting-a-deal motive:

This overweening country [the USA] began to regard space as its own back yard. The national space policy it announced in 2006 nonchalantly regarded space as its private property. At the same time, when China at the United Nations proposed a special international organization to resolve the actual problems of a space arms race that were being faced, the United States, acting as a country far in the lead in space, vehemently opposed, saying that there was no arms race in space...

We hope... [this] will smack the American carnivores back to reason. History shows us that if you don't hit Americans, they aren't willing to sit down at the negotiation table.

This was actually the fourth time the Chinese tried to destroy a satellite, GlobalSecurity.org notes. And as "reckless, self-defeating and stupid" as the test was, adds Arms Control Wonk Jeffrey Lewis, the test was legal, because there's "currently no prohibition on destructive ASAT [anti-satellite] testing. There should be."

UPDATE 01/21/07: Last week's test has given a "shiver of hope" to the "nation’s star warriors, frustrated that their plans to arm the heavens went nowhere for two decades despite more than $100 billion in blue-sky research," Bill Broad says in a tart opinion piece.

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

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لعبة اهداف هوكي الجليد لعبة اهداف هوكي الجليد
لعبة فريق هوكي الجليد لعبة فريق هوكي الجليد
لعبة سونيك الجديد لعبة سونيك الجديد
لعبة سونيك الطائر لعبة سونيك الطائر
لعبة سونيك الشهيرة لعبة سونيك الشهيرة
لعبة سونيك لتوصيل الطلبات لعبة سونيك لتوصيل الطلبات
لعبة تقشير البطاطا لعبة تقشير البطاطا
لعبة تقشير وتحضير الطعام لعبة تقشير وتحضير الطعام
لعبة مدي الحياة لعبة مدي الحياة
لعبة صناديق مدي الحياة لعبة صناديق مدي الحياة
لعبة دمار لعبة دمار
لعبة تدمير الطائرات لعبة تدمير الطائرات
لعبة دمار بالمينا لعبة دمار بالمينا
لعبة دمار المبني لعبة دمار المبني
لعبة دمار دبابات لعبة دمار دبابات
لعبة دراجات روعة لعبة دراجات روعة
لعبة دراجات الموت لعبة دراجات الموت
لعبة دراجات الموت الخطيرة لعبة دراجات الموت الخطيرة
لعبة دراجات مثيرة لعبة دراجات مثيرة

Posted by: kimo at June 21, 2008 12:28 AM


nice to meet you

Posted by: cheap wow gold at April 14, 2008 02:36 AM


Is interesting to read so much discrimination towards the Chinese? Over the last century Japan and Western countries were the ones bullying China. The British earned their wealth by pushing drugs to Chinese people. The Jap rape and killed thousands of Chinese in the name of freeing Chinese from imperialism. The US wants to free China from communist’s doctrine.

The Chinese culture is based on Confucius principle. The Chinese don’t behave like al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group even though there are 30 millions Muslim in China. China is still Chinese after 5000 year history for a good reason.

Please stay away from China. Stop buying Chinese goods. hipo!

Posted by: whocare at July 11, 2007 08:27 PM


This whole situation is counter productive to China. A war with the US would result in the total loss of China's number one consumer and customer of goods. If China wants to become a modernized country with all of the luxuries for it's people that countries such as the US, France, Germany, etc. have, then they need to stop militaristic actions and develop greater commercial and cultural interests with the US. The US has no intention of attacking or invading China. As China continues down this road of military muscle flexing it sends a message to the American people that China does not want or care to have close relations with the US or it's people.

Posted by: Dr Mark Belgen at May 22, 2007 03:04 AM


I fully are agreed withe wat on of you correspments is write.The Us cannot bully China all the time.The poor cannnot be pooere and the weak weak alle theetimes.
Remmberr .The US can destroy China but The US is tohave pay a heaby price. 50% of US will destroy.
Wht Cheyne and Bush are want is a China that cannot hit back at US.
I say dreaming on.
Thoseedaays are ober forever.No what Us is does China will more increasse damamges to US.
If US is likea China whatare it going to do?

145219

Posted by: Jimmy Wong Soon Deng at March 4, 2007 09:07 PM


Mr.Lubin said that

"We have one, simple, obvious way of countering this -- to increase the sheer mass of our orbitaing arsenal of data-collecting satellites, and, possibily, defensive satellties.
Phptpgraph and other data-collecting satellites are cheap and easily deployable, and could be sent aloft in enormous numbers, on demand. And they could be deployed at altitudes other than the approximately 500miles altitude that they are now deployeed.
The simplest, and at the moment, the only reasonable responce that we should be prepared to make, in anwer to the Chinese' development of a working anti-satellite system, is simply one of numbers, of deplying a massive array of srveillance satellites, at several operational altitudes."

If you can see it, you can hit it.
If you can hit it, you can kill it.

So why does the US have to overwhelm the scopes with targets?
Apart from that, even if these satellites are cheap and of military value, this does not exclude the possibility that the GPS birds won't get shot down and thus reduce the ability of the US to wage conventional warfare.

IMHO, there are two ways to counter that threat. Either you put a "shield" in orbit: this can be a highly maneuverable spacecraft with anti-missile capabilities, which needs something like 20 to 30 years to develop

Or you take out the Chinese "stick". I do not mean that there is a direct attack on Chinese soil to eradicate the launch bases or the plants producing the missiles, from the face of the earth.
A subtler and more effective approach would be to eliminate the reasons that would lead to such a confrontation. Call it democratisation, westernisation or detente. In any case, MAD is still on the table and we don't like it.

US and China have to live together. This does not mean that anyone has to boast about his
"capabilities" or show that he is the top dog.
A focus on the economy is the way to go.
China has single-handedly saved the Japanese and German economies and is a beloved partner of most African states. US economy is supported only by the weak dollar and the cutting-edge technology that permits some exports.

We Europeans do not want to witness a US-China confrontation and be forced to take sides. We won't give a shit if the US economy collapses or US armed forces position in Asia becomes untenable. We won't care if all US satellites are shot down. We won't get involved in another war of US initiative. We only want peace, prosperity and convergence of our Member States. If it means to stay neutral, so be it. If it means stopping to believe in the US military supremacy and fearful capabilities and accepting that the Russians or the Chinese or we can do better in that area, then the US-Europe "special" relationship will be reevaluated. Mr.Cameron, the next Torry PM has shown the way. And many Europeans share his or even stronger feelings and beliefs.

P.S. Tom Clancy has simulated international relations as "a country f...g another". It doesn't have to be this way. And it does not promote dialogue to say "US did this" "China did that" and post inflamatory comments like the ones from "lebanese" and "mathmatics".


Posted by: Nikos Koutsis at February 5, 2007 03:12 AM


The US must realise it cannot go on bullying China and expect the latter to be weak all the time.Yes the Us will prevail in a shooting war is absolutely in no doubt but the costs will be so high that is it worth the costs of say defending Taiwan when CSB declares indpendence.
The Chines are doing what any self respecting country does to defend itself agaginst threats.
It you look at the wars aft ww2,mos thave involved the US. Why? The US is the strongest in the world.
At this pt in time it could in theory destroy China.But it must be prepared to accept unacceptable damage which I believe the Chinese are well capable of inflicting.
Matter of fact the unacceptable damage on the US will increase over time.
The US must wake up to the fact that a war with China will no doubt end in the destruction of China ,but the US homeland could be seriously
devastated.


Posted by: Au Yong Chin Feng at January 29, 2007 04:46 AM


ever hear of emp? electro magnetic pulse, put inriched plutonium in a satelite shoot it down over the us and emp shuts down all electical and electiricity..........reasearch emp satelites. this is why they are target shooting satelites.

Posted by: aj at January 28, 2007 04:17 PM


The guidance system is not conventional radar. It must be some kind of Laser. I heard China actually have developed the death rays (high power solid state lasers) and also deployed in some of their tanks and warships. Is this true?

Posted by: Mickeydog at January 27, 2007 09:51 PM


The Chinese possess both the economic, intellectual, and industrial capabilities to build and deploy anti-satellite systems, and not to do so would be idiocy on their part. I am not surprised by their recent sucessful deployment of an anti-satellite system (at least one -- but we must assume that they have the capability of producing more, or, atually, have more, ready to use.)
We have one, simple, obvious way of countering this -- to increase the sheer mass of our orbitaing arsenal of data-collecting satellites, and, possibily, defensive satellties.
Phptpgraph and other data-collecting satellites are cheap and easily deployable, and could be sent aloft in enormous numbers, on demand. And they could be deployed at altitudes other than the approximately 500miles altitude that they are now deployeed.

The simplest, and at the moment, the only reasonable
responce that we should be prepared to make, in anwer to the Chinese' development of a working anti-satellite system, is simply one of numbers, of deplying a massive array of srveillance satellites, at several operational altitudes.

As for the concern of ground-based satellite-blinding focused radiation weapons, (in particular, lasers,) there are realistic, simple solutions to these too, including eflecting mirrors, filters, and other relatively low-tech solutions.

I am not personally troubled by the latest revelations of the success of the Chinese anti-satellite weapon test. Indeed, I always assumed that it was simply a question of time before they developed such a weapon. That it was, if the stories are true, a direct-implact weapon, rather than one which needed only to get close to the target, and then destroy it with a regional explosion, this is an impresssive demonstration of the sophistication of their computerised ballistic systems, but hardly changes the equations. Actually, once the course of an orbiting object is defined, hitting it with another bullet is not necesarily so dificult -- it happens in space, not in an atmosphere, where factors such as air density and windage don't exist.

Posted by: Thomas Lubin at January 27, 2007 02:14 PM


usa has so many enemies, and so little time to kill

Posted by: mathmatics at January 24, 2007 07:29 PM


Hey america u have been fucked by china u are now in trouble china and iran and lebanese resistance can destroy your country without having more troubles

Posted by: lebanese at January 24, 2007 06:54 AM


If China can demonstrate it can hit a bullet with a bullet, why is it so hard to accept that a limited BMD is possible?
Those that have advocated for the cancellation of BMD research and devlopment have alot of explaining to do.
China didn't come to the U.S. with a diplomatic solution and the development of a space peace treaty.Instead, it chose to demonstrate that it has the hard power to challenge U.S. space supremacy.

Posted by: j house at January 23, 2007 09:52 AM


Our excuses for the double posting and the typo that still slipped through. It won't happen again, especially if this website reacts faster to postings.
A simple message of recognition would suffice and prevent a too hasty double click.

Posted by: VNC.CC at January 22, 2007 07:18 PM


The Chinese didn't start this game of one-upmanship. Instead, they have protested Reagan's and his successors' persistence in making space a possible battlefield.
All protests, from othet nations as well, fell on deaf ears in the USA.
So now China protests with a bang and finally the world listens.
Who can see anything wrong in this act of force borne out of years of frustration?

Posted by: VNC.CC at January 22, 2007 07:12 PM


The Chines didn't start this game of one-upmanship. Instead, they have protested Reagan's and his successors persistence in making space a possible battlefield. All protest, from othet nations as well. fell on deaf ears in the USA.
So now China protests with a bang and finally the world listens.
Who can see anything wrong in their act of force borne out of years of frustration?

Posted by: VNC.C.C. at January 22, 2007 07:09 PM


Let's stay on the topic "why China smacks the ASAT test".

I am a US citizen. The point is that the US spy planes are now circling China’s skies, the US carrier battle groups are watching Chinese shores, The US befriends with China’s long time adversary neighbors and is trying desperately to “contain” China and the US still occupies their garage (Taiwan), the US spy satellites are watching over China 24 hours a day. The Chinese factory workers are making less than 1$ and hour to support cheap goods for the US Wal-Mart. China is now financing close to 1 trillion dollars of deficit for the US economy, but China is still very hard to make friends with the US (Note: please look at all of the racist and negative derogatory comments about China all over the websites). China desperately wants to make peace with the US, but China was and still is labeled as one the "evil axis" by the US government. I guess until the people and media in the US seriously change their perceptions and attitudes, China has no choice and will have to develop the so-called “asymmetry” technology to defend them. If China really achieved the alleged anti-satellite test, which they did not confirm until this day, it means that the Chinese engineers have developed a very sophisticated guidance technology, which has a velocity error of less than one centimeter per second with all of the combined earth magnetic, wind, and hypersonic turbulence (see other website publications). This technology can be used not only to knock out satellites but also the incoming missiles, and the worst part is that there is no effective defense for this technology. What if China shares this technology with our true sworn enemies? A scary thought but it may be a “checkmate” time for the US.

Posted by: Mikeydog at January 22, 2007 02:56 PM


DWC makes an interesting point that I'd like to expand. Does anyone know if the debris field created by China's anti-sat test poses a real hazard, as opposed to an annoyance, to other satellites in relatively the same orbit?

If so, creating the debris field to effectively "mine" a particular altitude of low earth orbit might be one of the purposes of the test.

After all, if as the article suggests, China intends to conduct tests of this nature until the program is fully operational--that would involve perhaps a dozen more debris fields-thereby denying other powers easy access to those particular areas of space.

Kind of a low-tech way of creating no-fly/no-spy zones...

Posted by: Hoax Meister at January 22, 2007 01:41 PM


If anybody can start nailing GPS satellites, armed services that rely on GPS for navigation can see their effectiveness reduced.
If I remember well, an position fix requires 4 satellites to be 100% accurate. A workable fix requires 3 birds.
Anything less is not good enough.
I know that there are some replacement GPS-birds up there, and more are ready to be launch with a few weeks notice.
Nevertheless, there is not an unlimited supply of these birds, and if my info is accurate they cost something in the range of $300,000,000.
To put it simply, at very low cost, the Chinese have demonstrate the ability to negate to the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps the ability to execute long range strikes, since without GPS there is no way to fight a conventional war, unless there is a return to WW1 methods. No Tomahawks, no artillery, no accurate air-strikes... the future may not be black, but it may be yellow, as long as Asia is concerned.

Posted by: Nikos Koutsis at January 22, 2007 05:20 AM


I keep hearing all this talk about spy satellites being targeted by this system-- what about GPS? That would seem to me to be substantially more important. Airplanes can always perform the recon role, but take away JDAM and friends and the US military loses something it can't easily replace.

Is there a reason none of the articles covering this topic has mentioned GPS? Are those satellites out of range?

Posted by: Marc at January 21, 2007 08:22 PM


The US response, that China's test is the first salvo in provoking an arms race in space, is pretty disingenuous. I understood this more as a shot over the bow intended to discourage us from sending up military hardware.

Posted by: judah at January 21, 2007 04:56 PM


> Are we even sure that we're not being faked out by a satellite that had a bomb on board?

US DSP and possibly other satellites would have seen the ASAT launch and gotten a good idea of its trajectory. (If they didn't, I want a tax refund!) Since the US has expressed unhappiness about the event, one assumes that the evidence it has collected is reasonably persuasive and consistent with the ASAT scenario.

In addition, the target satellite was launched in 1999, so the PRC would have had to be planning a bomb-on-board scam for a long time.

Posted by: Allen Thomson at January 21, 2007 03:46 PM


I just wrote a little colummn on this at newsvine: http://alfredkelgarries.newsvine.com/_news/2007/01/21/530968-rail-guns-as-anti-satellite-weapons.

Posted by: Alfred Kelgarries at January 21, 2007 03:43 PM


Are we even sure that we're not being faked out by a satellite that had a bomb on board?

Posted by: htom at January 21, 2007 11:50 AM


> "I don't think we should read too much into Chinese intentions after this ASAT test. Unlike Titan Rain, this test didn't target U.S. assets. Moreover, future tests and/or hostile use will be constrained by the fact that the Chinese have less than 50 DF-21 missiles on hand."

Assuming that the DF-21 was used (that's the current best public guess, but it could be wrong), 50 ASAT-capable rockets are more than enough. US imaging reconnaissance satellites number less than ten, and replacement times are at least many months for a single satellite, years for the constellation. So if the Chinese ASAT has a reasonably high single shot probability of kill, their inventory could take out our imagers with plenty left over.

Posted by: Allen Thomson at January 21, 2007 10:16 AM


So what, we americans are still superior to other races of people, what panic do we have? huh?

Posted by: Dr. Ali Khan at January 21, 2007 02:07 AM


I posted some more concluding thoughts on my blog for those who are interested.

I don't think we should read too much into Chinese intentions after this ASAT test. Unlike Titan Rain, this test didn't target U.S. assets. Moreover, future tests and/or hostile use will be constrained by the fact that the Chinese have less than 50 DF-21 missiles on hand.

I think the most interesting bit of information is the fact that the Chinese abandoned a DF-31 based solution. It doesn't reflect well on the DF-31's already poor performance record.

Posted by: Robot Economist at January 21, 2007 01:00 AM


Those super sleuths at Reuters busted us again!

US Planners Prepare for War On Iran, Not Attack.
http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID;= 2007-01-20T004912Z_01_N19368342_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAN-USA-EXPERTS.xml &WTmodLoc;=NewsHome-C1-topNews-2
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "U.S. contingency planning for military action against Iran's nuclear program goes beyond limited strikes and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former U.S. intelligence analyst said on Friday.

"I've seen some of the planning ... You're not talking about a surgical strike," said Wayne White, who was a top Middle East analyst for the State Department's bureau of intelligence and research until March 2005.

"You're talking about a war against Iran" that likely would destabilize the Middle East for years, White told the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think tank.

"We're not talking about just surgical strikes against an array of targets inside Iran. We're talking about clearing a path to the targets" by taking out much of the Iranian Air Force, Kilo submarines, anti-ship missiles that could target commerce or U.S. warships in the Gulf, and maybe even Iran's ballistic missile capability,..."

Posted by: RTLM at January 21, 2007 12:24 AM


While this may seem a little off topic, a sci-fi book written recently called "World War Z" that deals with a fictional zombie war (stay with me on this) has a passage in it that deals with the Chinese in space and in particular causing destruction/denial of space. In the book a crew from the ISS discovers that a Chinese space station was rigged with explosives and placed in an orbit that would have if detonated produced so much debris that it would have destroyed or disabled a number of LEO satellites. While fictional it is an example of trying to bring us down to their level type of asymmetric warfare.

Posted by: DWC at January 20, 2007 05:38 PM


"its about time in defense of chinas decision to shoot down a satelite, usa should ban imports of all chinese goods. especially walmarts. we should also do away with nafta and cafta. and shut down all hamburger flip[ping jobs."

Now that sounds a like a well thought out piece of advice, where abouts did you get your degree in economics?
If we undertook your suggestions we would face an economic setback along the lines of the great depression. Besides, the US designed and built ASAT systems in the past, I wouldnt be the least bit surprised to learn they are still in the USAF inventory.

Posted by: Jimbo at January 20, 2007 03:59 PM


its about time in defense of chinas decision to shoot down a satelite, usa should ban imports of all chinese goods. especially walmarts. we should also do away with nafta and cafta. and shut down all hamburger flip[ping jobs.

Posted by: terry at January 20, 2007 03:18 PM


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