Craft could be used to attack satellites, according to some researchers
A small spacecraft sent into orbit by the Long March 7 rocket launched from Hainan in southern China on Saturday is tasked with cleaning up space junk, according to the government, but some analysts claim it may serve a military purpose.
The Aolong-1, or Roaming Dragon, is equipped with a robotic arm to remove large debris such as old satellites.
Tang Yagang, a senior satellite scientist with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said the Aolong-1 was the first in a series of craft that would be tasked with collecting man-made debris in space. Continue reading
The station hosted Major General Oleg Maidanovich, of the country’s Aerospace Defense Forces (ADF), in a program entitled “Special Operations in Space”. Maidanovich told the program that specialists in the ADF’s Intelligence Center uncovered “a newly deployed group of space satellites” that were designed to collect signals intelligence (SIGINT) from Russian telecommunications and other electronic systems. However, the satellites had been disguised to appear and behave like “space junk”, he said. By “space junk”, Maidanovich was referring to rocket stages, old and defunct communications satellites, and various other fragments of manmade devices that have ended up in outer space since the 1950s and are endlessly orbiting the Earth. Continue reading
…and America abandoned its Star Wars system that President Reagan saw as absolutely necessary for the U.S. to remain dominant.
While America took the ‘moral high road’ it was duped into disarming further while its adversaries modernized. In this case, the destroying of a previous satellite made it very convenient to camouflage an enemy attack satellite within the debris rotating in orbit along the same elevation as many more — even American military communication ones.
Even though the U.S. Air Force tracks “all objects orbiting Earth”, one has to wonder if it can keep up with the thousands of pieces of space debris created from a single destroyed satellite.
Earlier this year, Russia rocketed several satellites into space. They also deposited what was at the time believed to be a piece of space junk. With no declared orbit, the object was tracked by most of the world’s space agencies, as well as amateur astronomers. Now, whispers are growing the so-called junk might actually be a “satellite killer.”
The Russian name for satellite killer is “Istrebitel Sputnikov,” and during the Cold War this pair of words would have been quickly recognized by U.S. security experts. It was a widely known that one of the main objectives of the Soviet Union (and most other world powers) was to launch anti-satellite weaponry. Most experts, however, assumed such ambitions died with the collapse of the empire.
But Russia’s suspicious piece of space junk — for which an orbital route was never publicly shared — have some suggesting the Istrebitel Sputnikov mission was never abandoned. Continue reading
The government intends to create a space monitoring division within the Self-Defense Forces by around 2019 and the Defense Ministry has already informed the United States, a source close to the bilateral relationship said Saturday.
Initially, the force will be tasked with monitoring dangerous debris floating in Earth’s orbit and with protecting satellites from collisions with such space junk, the source said. Continue reading