It has emerged that the Chinese military is planning to develop weapons to destroy Starlink satellites produced by US billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, on the grounds that they are a ‘threat to national security’.
The Starlink system includes 2,400 satellites in Earth orbit that can send very high-speed and uninterrupted internet data anywhere in the world.
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A research paper conducted by the Chinese military’s Beijing Institute of Monitoring and Telecommunications said China needs to develop capabilities to track and destroy all Starlink satellites in Earth orbit, the Daily Mail reported.
The article, published in the journal Modern Defence Technology, said: “In order to protect China’s national security, a combination of soft and hard destruction methods should be adopted so that Starlink satellites lose their function.”
The research team stressed that China needs to develop high-accuracy space surveillance satellites, intercept and analyze data sent from satellites to monitor the Starlink system.
It also said that although there is a large-scale risk of space debris that could affect other space functions, China needs to expand its satellite destruction capabilities to more cost-effectively destroy multiple targets such as Starlink.
Without detailing the attack methods, the researchers said, “This requires some low-cost and high-yielding measures.”