Chinese threat to space. Opinion RUMO USA

China is developing its space industry and is actively introducing new technologies in the military sphere. Such his activities become a cause for concern of third countries - primarily the United States. Washington is trying to determine the real possibilities of the likely adversary and predict the likely course of events. A direct consequence of this are the curious reports of intelligence structures.

This year, the United States Department of Defense Intelligence Agency (RUMO) published a new report, “Challenges to security in space,” devoted to the challenges and threats in outer space. The paper discusses the activities of China, Russia and other countries that could pose a danger to US interests. Consider the data from the report relating to the Chinese space potential.


Startup options


RUMO notes that China is improving its rocket and space systems and expanding opportunities in the field of launches. There are 14 types of launch vehicles of all main classes that allow output loads from a few hundred kilograms to 20-50 tons. A super-heavy carrier with loads greater than 50 tons is under development. A modular launch vehicle and a light carrier for commercial launches are also being developed. The concept of a rocket is studied with a minimum preparation time for flight, which may be of interest to both commercial structures and the army.



China has four launch sites in different parts of the country. In the cities of Beijing and Xi'an there are two control centers. All such objects are used to solve various problems in outer space, military, scientific and commercial.

In 2003, China became the third country in the world capable of performing manned space flights on its own. By the year 2022 it is planned to create its own permanent orbital station of modular type and to attract foreign organizations to this project. Not so long ago, China landed an automatic station on the moon. By 2025, it is planned to send a new AMC to a natural satellite, and in the thirties a manned flight is expected.

Satellite constellation


According to RUMO, China has already created a large group of spacecraft capable of solving all the major tasks of a military and civil nature. It is used to conduct reconnaissance of all kinds, data transmission, navigation, etc.

As of May 2018, China had 124 satellites with the ability to observe and collect data - this put it in second place after the United States. Almost half of such devices belong to the PLA and are responsible for reconnaissance and target designation. Most of the satellites monitor areas of the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and the southern borders of China.


Existing and prospective carrier boosters of China


China owns the 34 communications satellite, of which 4 is intended for military use. The grouping of 28 Beidou vehicles is operated by the army, although it is accessible to non-military users. The number of scientific spacecraft reached 60 units, but only a few similar products belong to the PLA. The rest are used by civilian research organizations.

It is noted that China has successfully mastered the production of its own spacecraft for various purposes. Military and civil equipment is produced. In the case of commercial samples, the available technologies and components are actively used, which has a positive effect on the cost and provides certain competitive advantages.

Space Defense


China has managed to create a developed network of optical, radar and other means of observing outer space. Different systems from this network are located on the ground, on offshore platforms and in space. Thanks to this, the Chinese military are able to monitor the situation in orbit, detect suspicious behavior of spacecraft, perform detection of ICBM launches, etc.


The PLA has radio countermeasures to suppress radars, communication channels, satellite navigation, etc. There are also means to counter enemy EW. All these possibilities have already been tested in the conditions of army exercises. Continuing research and development of new samples.


Spaceports and control centers


US RUMO has information about the availability of laser countermeasure and suppression projects for spacecraft in China. By the 2020, the PLA may have the first ground-based laser system capable of suppressing the optics of satellites in low orbit. In the second half of the twenties, more powerful systems are expected to appear that can damage spacecraft without optical-electronic systems.

The development of offensive systems for cyberspace. Such systems are planned to be used both independently and for informational support of direct actions of the armed forces. Cyber ​​attacks are possible during the period of danger, making it difficult for the enemy to prepare for the expected collision. Also, the PLA is engaged in intelligence in cyberspace, receiving data of a military nature or engaging in industrial espionage.

Orbiters are being developed for surveying and maintaining other space technology. In RUMO believe that these satellites can be used as weapons. In the past, several experiments of this kind have been carried out, and in the future new technologies can be put into practice.

A few years ago, the PLA demonstrated that it has a guided missile for hitting satellites in low orbits. At present, units are being formed that are to use such weapons in conditions of real conflicts. In 2013, the launch of a device that flew along a ballistic trajectory and moved away from the Earth on 30 thousand km. Perhaps this is the development of anti-satellite weapons capable of hitting targets in geostationary orbits.

Analyst conclusions


In the final part of the report “Challenges to security in space”, it is noted that outer space is becoming an integral part of military and peaceful human activity. The advantages in this area remain for the United States, which is an incentive for other countries. As a result, there is not only cooperation, but also competition. RUMO considers China and Russia the main competitors of the USA in space.


The carrier booster "Changzheng CZ-2F" with the manned ship "Shenzhou-9", June 2016


Both US rivals in the space sector continue to improve their equipment and technology, as well as to look for new ways of development. Works are carried out in all major areas, and military projects are of particular importance. In these or other areas, Moscow and Beijing can mutually cooperate.

China and Russia view outer space as an addition to “traditional” theaters of war that can be used to gain advantage and win the conflict. As a result, new projects are being created, launches are being held, etc.

The report's authors recall that the number of countries capable of using outer space for military purposes is growing. Such trends challenge the current “US dominance in space,” as well as being a threat to American activity in this area.

A report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency describes the situation and examines the current capabilities of a number of countries, but does not provide direct instructions for various structures in Washington and the Pentagon. They will have to draw their own conclusions, and then determine the ways for the further development of rocket and space technologies and the “military space” as a whole.
Author:
Ryabov Kirill
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