The Daily Telegraph
China in threat to block Musk’s Starlink with rival satellites
CHINA has threatened to block Elon Musk’s Starlink with a rival fleet of 13,000 satellites, claiming that they pose a potential military threat and could spy on the communist country.
A new academic paper published in the military-sponsored Journal of the Chinese Society of Command and Control suggested that lasers and microwaves should be used to shoot down Starlink satellites.
Starlink’s Earth-orbiting satellites are in the process of being deployed to cover the entire planet. The company says the network is intended to provide global internet connectivity, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
Yet the Chinese paper claimed that its true purpose is to provide military reconnaissance, “seamless intelligence” and even a “missile early warning and kinetic energy interception network”.
The report said: “Although the US Space Exploration Corporation stated that the purpose of building the Starlink constellation is to provide space-based Internet services covering the world, the Starlink constellation has received strong support from the US military during the construction and deployment process.”
The paper also hints that a Chinesemade rival to Starlink, known as “GW”, could be used to keep Starlink out.
Some 12,992 GW satellites will be launched into orbit as a direct commercial and military rival to Starlink’s estimated 3,500 spacecraft, the paper says.
Neutralising Starlink’s threat to China could involve using “high-power microwaves” or laser weapons to cause “soft damage” to the communications satellites, according to Prof Xu Can, of the Chinese army’s Space Engineering University in Beijing.