Russia and China are attacking US satellites with lasers and jammers ‘every day’ says top general

China will overtake the United States in a space race by the end of the decade, General David Thompson warned

Adam Smith
Saturday 04 December 2021 19:25
Comments

Related video: Russia admits destroying satellite with space missile strike

United Statessatellites are constantly under attack, and China may become the dominant space power by the end of the decade, according to a Space Force general.

“The threats are really growing and expanding every single day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening for a long time,” General David Thompson, the Space Force’s first vice chief of space operations, told the Washington Post.

“We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened.”

The United States must deal with “reversible attacks” on satellites – those which do not permanently damage the craft – “every single day” via non-kinetic tools such as lasers, radio frequency jammers, and cyber attacks, the general said.

Experts from across the world have argued against the use of kinetic weapons against satellites, which could worsen the amount of space debris around the planet and trap humanity on Earth in the worst-case scenario.

China is building its own version of GPS, and a “couple of hundred” intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance satellites. The number of launches is twice that of the United States.

“The Chinese are actually well ahead [of Russia],” Thompson said. “They’re fielding operational systems at an incredible rate.”

He continued: “We are still the best in the world, clearly in terms of capability [but] they’re catching up quickly,” and that the United States “should be concerned by the end of this decade if we don’t adapt.”

The Biden administration is reportedly reaching out to the Chinese Communist Party to establish international norms for cyberspace and space, but Beijing is apparently unresponsive to negotiation.

Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

Russia “conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon” in July 2020, according to United States Space Command, and again in December that year.

China is also progressing with the development of missiles and electronic weapons that could target high- and low-orbiting satellites, according to a Pentagon report.

The United States is reportedly planning to unveil its own space weapon that could apparently degrade or destroy a target satellite or spacecraft.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in