China has taken another step towards challenging US supremacy in the space race after successfully testing a “non-destructive” anti-satellite missile on July 23, reports the Chinese-language website of the Voice of Russia, the Russian government’s international radio broadcasting service.
According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, the country’s Ministry of National Defense announced a successful missile intercept test that “achieved the preset goal,” which sources from the US State Department confirmed with “high confidence” was an anti-satellite missile that aims to destroy targets through impact and does not cause an explosion.
Since taking office last year, Chinese president Xi Jinping has reportedly asked his nation’s air force to hasten its integration of air and space capabilities. During a visit to PLA Air Force headquarters in April, Xi promised the development of a “new-type combat force” that can deal with air and space emergencies “swiftly and effectively.”
Last week’s anti-satellite missile test was the second in Xi’s term, having already launched a Chinese rocket as part of a test of an anti-satellite system in May last year. In January 2007, China deliberately destroyed one of its defunct weather satellites using a ground-based, medium-range ballistic missile, an act that was widely condemned by the international community as it left a cloud of potentially hazardous debris in a heavily used belt of Earth’s orbit.
China is developing various weapons that can destroy or blind satellites in a variety of ways, including micro-satellites, satellites that can surround enemy satellites, Evseev said, adding that Beijing appears to be preparing for a space war with multiple possibilities.
Full article: Beijing tests anti-satellite missile: Voice of Russia (Want China Times)