A Chinese military analyst suggested Beijing should develop countermeasures to the Starlink satellite system developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX – including ways to hack or even destroy the service in times of conflict.
In a recent paper published in the China-based academic journal Modern Defense Technology, analyst Ren Yuanzhen argued that China’s need to develop the ability to track each of the thousands of satellites scheduled to include the Starlink constellations in the coming years will need to be addressed. Army is required.
Ren’s paper noted that Starlink could be an important resource for the US military, both as a means of providing Internet connectivity for soldiers and as a source of intelligence via satellite imagery.
The analyst said the Chinese military should explore “a combination of soft and hard kill methods” that would “make some Starlink satellites lose their functions and destroy the constellation’s operating system,” according to parts of the paper cited by Bloomberg. according.
Bloomberg noted that it is unclear whether his views constitute the official stance of the Chinese Community Party – which has sharply criticized the US and its allies over its military offensive in Taiwan and the South China Sea. Ren is affiliated with Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology.
The post has reached out to SpaceX for comment.
Musk touts SpaceX’s Starlink initiative as a source of high-speed, low-cost broadband Internet for rural areas and other areas that have traditionally lacked reliable Internet access. Amazon is in the process of developing a similar satellite network called “Project Kuiper”.
While SpaceX is a civilian firm, Starlink has gained international recognition in recent weeks for its key role in supporting Ukraine’s efforts to resist a brutal Russian invasion. Musk has provided Ukraine with thousands of Starlink terminals since the conflict began in late February.
A US general recently announced that Starlink had “completely destroyed”. [Vladimir] Putin’s information campaign” by allowing Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to communicate directly with his people despite attempts to disrupt the Kremlin’s network.
Ukraine’s military has also reportedly used Starlink to coordinate military action – such as facilitating drone strikes against Russian tanks in the area.
SpaceX has clashed with the Chinese government in recent days.
Last December, China said it filed a formal complaint with the United Nations, after officials alleged that astronauts aboard China’s space station had to take aggressive action to avoid a collision with SpaceX satellites.
US officials downplayed Beijing’s concerns in a response the following month.
“If there was a significant likelihood of China colliding with the space station, the United States would have provided a close approach notification directly to the designated Chinese contact point,” the US said in a January 28 letter to the United Nations. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.