What happened on January 11?
Bold move escalates space war debate
China's satellite shootdown has military, diplomatic implications
by James Oberg
One week ago, a major "space first" occurred high over west central China — and in total darkness. No fiery explosion or glowing clouds would have been seen. But an aging Chinese satellite was instantaneously converted into a 542-mile-high cloud of metallic confetti...
State of ASAT weapons programs up to the date of the Chinese test
A History of Anti-Satellite Weapons Programs
by Laura Grego
The last 40 years have seen the United States and Russia in a parallel and oftentimes mutually reinforcing path toward militarizing space. Space's initial military use was reconnaissance; the response of the United States and Russia/USSR to space reconnaissance missions has transitioned from the hostile days of 1960, when a US U-2 spy plane flying over the USSR was destroyed by anti-aircraft missiles, to the acceptance of imaging satellites used to verify arms control agreements as an essential component of national security...
Technical notes regarding the Chinese ASAT capabilities
AN ASSESSMENT OF CHINA’S ANTI-SATELLITE AND SPACE WARFARE PROGRAMS, POLICIES AND DOCTRINES
"The Pillsbury Report"
by Michael D. Pillsbury
The first two parts of this study present the results of a survey of Chinese writings that discovered 30 proposals that China should acquire several types of anti satellite weapons. Many foreign observers have mistakenly claimed that China is a pacifistic nation and has no interest such weapons. The Director of the US National Reconnaissance Office Donald Kerr confirmed a Chinese laser had illuminated a US satellite in 2006. These skeptical observers dismissed that laser incident, but then appeared to be stunned by the reported Chinese destruction of a satellite January 11, 2007. China declined to confirm the event, but many foreign governments immediately protested,1 including Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Britain, while Russia’s defense minister suggested the report may not be fully accurate...
IS CHINA'S SATELLITE KILLER A THREAT?
January 19th, 2007 - The Chinese anti-satellite shot on 12 January produced fireworks that are now branching into the non-celestial spheres of politics, national security, and space technology...
Foreign Sources of Chinese ASAT capabilities
THE IMPACT OF FOREIGN WEAPONS AND TECHNOLOGY ON THE MODERIZATION OF CHINA'S PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY
by Richard D. Fisher, Jr.
While the most recent phase of the modernization of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been a vast undertaking spanning two decades, a critical element feeding its success has been consistent access to foreign weapons and military technologies. Successful PLA modernization is also dependent upon ongoing reform of its doctrine, strategies, military-industrial policies, and training and personnel policies. But all of these ongoing reforms would be for naught if the PLA did not have the most modern and capable weapons.
To be sure, a reliance on foreign military technology by the PLA is not an asset, but a recognition on the PLA's part that its indigenous military-technical sector cannot meet the capability requirements being set by the PRC leadership. Over the 1990s, the PLA defense sector has had mixed to poor results in adopting and absorbing foreign military technologies. Ongoing reforms in the PRC defense industry sector that aim to strengthen market incentives and alliances are having some effect. But the failure of its own defense sector to make new indigenous systems is giving rise to a more popular half-step: importation of specific weapon components to fashion or to help complete new weapon systems of largely PLA design. However, the PLA is now the world’s largest buyer of foreign made arms; it is possible to see that these purchases are having some cumulative effects leading to potential new and threatening military capabilities...
2.2 MISSILE AND SPACE SYSTEMS
Information from U.S. Assists New PLA Nuclear Warheads
Though a debate lingers, in 1999 a bi-partisan commission of the U.S. House of Representatives concluded that the PRC had used information it had obtained through espionage about modern U.S. nuclear weapons to aid the development of current PRC nuclear weapons being deployed on its new generation of solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)...
U.S. military "uses of space" doctrine
Counterspace operations are critical to success in modern warfare. The rapid maturation of space capabilities and the evolution of contingency operations have greatly enhanced the effectiveness of air and space power. Combatant commanders leverage space capabilities such as communication; position, navigation, and timing; missile warning; environmental sensing; and reconnaissance to maintain a combat advantage over our adversaries...
A critical overview of U.S. Space Weapons
U.S. SPACE WEAPONS:
Big Intentions, Little Focus
by Theresa Hitchens, Michael Katz-Hyman and Jeffrey Lewis
Under the administration of President George W. Bush, Pentagon rhetoric has increasingly articulated a more robust vision of space as a future battlefield. This analysis details some of the ongoing spending for research and development programs identified in current U.S. Air Force, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and Defense Advanced Research and Planning Agency (DARPA) planning and budget documents related to "space control" and "space force projection."...
Analyses of debris created
Preliminary Analysis of the FY-1C Breakup
Geoffrey Forden, MIT
Figure 1 shows the debris of the FY-1C as they are today. The split in orbits, with one group remaining in a fairly circular orbit and the other in a more eccentric group of orbits is characteristic of a highly energetic collision between two objects moving with speeds of at least several kilometers a second. We know this from some of the pictures the BMDO released after one of their early successful NMD intercepts. A group of debris, probably associated with satellite, leaves with velocities (both magnitude and direction of the speed) similar to the target's while another group leaves with velocities similar to the interceptor. Work is continuing on calculating what that means for the interceptor missile...
China's Asat Test Will Intensify U.S.-Chinese Faceoff in Space
China's successful test of an anti-satellite (Asat) weapon means that the country has mastered key space sensor, tracking and other technologies important for advanced military space operations. China can now also use "space control" as a policy weapon to help project its growing power regionally and globally.
Aviation Week & Space Technology first broke the news of the Chinese Asat test on aviationweek.com Jan. 17.
China performed the test Jan. 11 by destroying the aging Chinese Feng Yun 1C (FY-1C) weather satellite target at 537 mi. altitude. The attack was carried out with a kinetic kill vehicle launched by a small ballistic missile...
On the consequences of space debris:
Analysis: Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapons Test in Space is Provocative and Irresponsible
At 5:28 p.m. EST on Jan. 11, 2007, China launched a medium-range ballistic missile at an old weather satellite in-orbit. The test destroyed the satellite and allowed China to pick up the reins of a space arms race that the United States officially dropped 20 years ago. This move is even more portentous now, as the United States is entirely dependent upon its space assets and has much to lose if it allows space to be weaponized...
Speculation on Chinese military thinking about the test:
China Wants a Piece of the Sky
Apparently the delicate sensors of the arms control fraternity picked up a frisson—a shudder of excitement—from the Forum on Space and Defense in Colorado Springs.
The rumor is that the Chinese government destroyed one of its own obsolete satellites, identified as FY-1C, in a test of an ASAT—anti-satellite weapon...
A View from Inside the PLA on China's Anti-Satellite Test
Though Chinese official media appears to be largely silent on the destruction of the FY-1c weather satellite, the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao did run a prominent story on the topic.
Most of it was recycled from western news services, but the final paragraph did say that the Global Daily (part of the People’s Daily media group) had a quote from Major General Peng Guangqian:...
On the Feng-Yun satellite:
Feng Yun FY-1 Earth Observation System
In 1988 and again in 1990 the PRC launched FY-1 (Feng Yun - Wind and Cloud) meteorological satellites into approximately 900-km, 99 degree inclination orbits by CZ-4 boosters from Taiyuan. The spacecraft were designed to be comparable to existing international LEO meteorological and remote sensing systems, including APT transmissions in the 137 MHz band. The satellite structure and support systems were created by the Shanghai Satellite Engineering and Research Center of the China Space Technology Institute, whereas the payload was developed by the Shanghai Technical Physics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences...
Expert saying the test was a blunder:
Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapon Experiment; What Now?
In a major foreign policy blunder, China reportedly has conducted an anti-satellite (ASAT) test. First reported in Aviation Week and Space Technology, China allegedly used a medium-range ballistic missile to launch an unknown payload that slammed into the Feng Yun (FY-1C) polar-orbit weather satellite approximately 865 km (537 miles) above the earth on January 11...
Explanation of Russian ASAT systems:
Is China repeating the old Soviet and U.S. mistakes?
The anti-satellite test apparently conducted by China on January 12, 2007 immediately reminded everyone of the U.S. and Soviet cold-war ASAT programs. Some Russian commentators even suggested that the system tested by China is just a replica of the Soviet “IS” system. Well, not quite...
Sino-Russian proposals for a treaty on space-based weapons
Possible Elements for a Future International Legal Agreement on the Prevention of the Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects
LETTER DATED 27 JUNE 2002 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION TO THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE CONFERENCE TRANSMITTING THE CHINESE, ENGLISH AND RUSSIAN TEXTS OF A WORKING PAPER ..."
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR LEONID SKOTNIKOV PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AT THE PLENARY MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT
Geneva, 1 February 2005
It is well known that the issue of preventing of an arms race in outer space is the priority of the Russian Federation in the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament. Our common central task in this context is to prevent placement of weapons in outer space...
Other efforts to get folks thinking about control of space-based weapons
Space Weapons: Not Yet
By Richard L. Garwin
In this paper I attempt to sketch the utility of space weaponry, primarily from the point of view of the United States...
PAROS discussions at the 2004 UN First Committee
At the UN First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) in New York, a number of states have highlighted the importance of preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space. At a special session devoted to 'prevention of an arms race in outer space' on Tuesday October 19th, there were further more specific statements. Egypt and Sri Lanka have introduced their traditional Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) resolution....
China Tests Anti-Satellite Weapon
statement by David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists:
"China's Jan. 11 test of a kinetic energy anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon apparently destroyed a defunct Chinese satellite by slamming into it. UCS strongly opposes the development, testing, and deployment of such ASAT weapons by all countries. Space is uniquely well suited to a wide range of scientific, civilian, and military purposes. Debris produced by the testing or use of kinetic energy ASATs threatens the use of space for these purposes. China's test merely demonstrates what we already knew: satellites are by nature vulnerable to attack...
The August 2006 revision of America's national space policy:
U.S. National Space Policy
The President authorized a new national space policy on August 31, 2006 that establishes overarching national policy that governs the conduct of U.S. space activities. This policy supersedes Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-49/NSTC-8, National Space Policy, dated September 14, 1996...
Commentary on the new U.S. space policy:
It's the goal of America's new space policy.
by Michael Goldfarb
ON OCTOBER 18, the Washington Post reported on "the first revision of U.S. space policy in nearly 10 years." The specifics of that revision remain largely classified; however, the government did post an unclassified overview of the new policy which can be read here.
According to that document, "the President authorized a new national space policy on August 31, 2006 that establishes overarching national policy that governs the conduct of U.S. space activities." The document sets out a series of principles, goals, and guidelines that largely conform to the recommendations of the Commission to Assess United States National Security, Space Management, and Organization--otherwise known as the Rumsfeld Commission...
The Responsibilities of Space Faring Nations
by Michael Krepon and Michael Katz-Hyman
While NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was in China to discuss space cooperation, a story appeared in Defense News that China had illuminated a US reconnaissance satellite with a ground-based laser on at least one occasion. Reporters from Space News subsequently confirmed this report from no less a source than Donald Kerr, the Director of the US National Reconnaissance Office. Shortly thereafter, the Bush administration finally released an unclassified version of the US National Space Policy, which had been in the works for over two years. The Bush policy reaffirms the Pentagon’s option to "respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests."...
The National Space Policy and space arms control
by Nader Elhefnawy
Monday, November 27, 2006
In October the White House released a ten-page summary of the new National Space Policy, the first such document in ten years. While the American media in general pays much less attention to US space policy than its foreign counterparts, the event registered even here, prompting stories in the major newspapers and commentary on the editorial pages. The reason for this was simple: the perception that "space supremacy is now the official policy of the United States government" as Weekly Standard writer Michael Goldfarb approvingly put it. (See "Not really lost in space: the new National Space Policy", The Space Review, November 13, 2006.)...
On the KT-1 and its successors from CASIC:
China’s Direct Ascent ASAT
by Richard Fisher, Jr.
January 20th, 2007
"China is believed to be conducting research and development on a direct-ascent ASAT [anti-satellite] system that could be fielded in the 2005-2010 timeframe." This prediction from the 2003 Department of Defense annual report on Chinese military modernization became a reality on January 11, 2007 when a Chinese direct ascent ASAT intercepted and destroyed a Chinese weather satellite over China...
On the reasons why the three purported previous ASAT tests may have failed:
Does the DF-31 Suck or What?
In my forthcoming book, one of the little nagging questions I couldn’t answer was why the DF-31 solid-fueled ICBM (IRBM, harumph) was taking so damn long. I said: “In 1996, NAIC predicted CSS‐X‐10 (DF‐31) deployment ‘about the turn of the century.’ Since the missile remains to be deployed, the program may be under‐funded or experiencing technical problems.”...
Wrap-up on the Chinese ASAT test
I have a few parting thoughts about how this test fits into the strategic picture:
Out with the new, in with the old
According to Jamie MacIntyre, China's successful January 11th test wasn't its first using ground-based ballistic missiles. There were apparently three failed tests prior to this one using the unproven Kaitouzhe-1 space launch vehicle as the kill vehicle. The many of the key components for the Kaitouzhe are based on the new road-mobile DF-31 ICBM, which has had its share of problems, including some failed test launches back in 2002...
China is evil...or something like that
China's Space Attack Test
by Peter Brookes
January 24, 2007 - After several attempts, the People's Republic of China has successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon. The kinetic-energy "kill vehicle" destroyed its target - one of Beijing's own aging weather satellites - orbiting over 500 miles above Earth.
This is bad news. For starters, it calls into question China's mantra that its unprecedented military buildup is for self-defense, that its rise to world power will be peaceful. It's a threat to no one - and it will only use space for peaceful purposes...
by Joe Buff
January 24, 2007 - On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first man-made object to achieve earth orbit. NASA's website labels this as a shock felt round the globe, the event that triggered the Cold War's long and dangerous U.S. versus Soviet Union space race. In an eerily parallel development one-half century later, on January 12, 2007 local time, the People's Republic of China successfully tested a kinetic-kill antisatellite (ASAT) ballistic missile, destroying one of their own aging weather satellites. Why care? Because once perfected and deployed, any operational ASAT system can hold at risk hundreds of assets vital to American network-centric intelligence, deterrence, and warfighting...
Lasers for attacking satellites
Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL)
The High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF) is located at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. HELSTF became operational on September 6, 1985 when the Air Force conducted the first Lethality and Target Hardening (LTH-l) program test for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO)...
Chinese Laser vs. U.S. Sats?
"China has fired high-power lasers at U.S. spy satellites flying over its territory in... a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft," Defense News is reporting. And, at least in theory, those lasers might be able temporarily take offline America's most powerful orbiting spies, like the giant electro-optical Keyhole spacecraft or radar-based satellites like the Lacrosse...
The one real controversy among the techies seems to over whether the ASAT booster is a derivative of a Dong Feng-21 IRBM or Dong Feng-31 ICBM.