Once China is fully capable of operating its anti-satellite interceptor, Minnick said that the United States may no longer be able to protect its surveillance, navigation and communications satellites. China’s first two anti-satellite tests involving the SC-19 design, based on the DF-21 ballistic missile, took place in 2007 and 2010. However, only the first test was launched directly against a weather satellite. The other two tests were against ballistic missiles.
Minnick said China is trying to avoid creating a debris field that would endanger other nations’ space platforms operating at that level of orbit. This is the reason why it chose to shoot down ballistic missile instead of obsolete satellites. “This latest space interceptor test demonstrates a potential PLA aspiration to restrict freedom of space flight over China,” said Mark Stokes, a China missile specialist at the Project 2049 Institute.
Stokes said that it is still too early to say whether China was testing the SC-19 or a different kind of missile system last month, but that it was probably a new solid motor being developed for a space intercept system, designated as Hongqi-26 (HQ-26). Richard Fisher from the International Assessment and Strategy Center said that it is likely that China attempted to mask its anti-satellite program by conveying the impression that it is also testing its lower altitude anti-missile capability.
Full article: 3rd anti-satellite missile test launch in China: report (Want China Times)