Thales Alenia Space selling sensitive technology to Chinese…
The U.S. government cut off exports of satellites to China in the 1990s after U.S. aerospace companies helped make China’s strategic nuclear missiles more reliable by improperly assisting China’s space launchers.
According to the Pentagon’s annual report on China’s military, the Chinese are developing an array of space warfare capabilities, including anti-satellite missiles and lasers. The report said China’s military has stated that it plans on “destroying, damaging, and interfering with the enemy’s reconnaissance … and communications satellites” in a future conflict. The report also said such systems and navigation and early warning satellites are targets in an initial phase of attack that would “blind and deafen the enemy.”
China’s development of space warfare capabilities is a major concern of U.S. national security officials opposed to loosening export controls on commercial space technology.
Thales built the Chinasat 6B satellite in 2007 and in 2008 began advertising Spacebus 4000 satellites for sale as “ITAR-free.” It then exported several of the satellites, including some to China, a country limited from such sales by under the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) regulations.