The Daily Telegraph

China in threat to block Musk’s Starlink with rival satellites

- By Gareth Corfield

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.

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