United States’ satellites 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.