Space Force General David Thompson said enemies frequently attack US satellites in ways that flirt with “acts of war.” The United States will lose a space arms race as a result of these attacks if it doesn’t take action, Thompson said.
Thompson told The Washington Post on Tuesday that China and Russia, on a daily basis, strike US satellites with lasers, radiofrequency jammers, and cyber attacks,
“The threats are really growing and expanding every single day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening for a long time,” said Gen. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations in the new military branch.
“We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened.”
Thompson recalled an incident that occurred in 2019 when a Russian satellite flew so close to a US “national security satellite” that authorities believed to be an offense. The spacecraft, however, backed away and tested a projectile, according to the WP.
“It maneuvered close, it maneuvered dangerously, it maneuvered threateningly so that they were coming close enough that there was a concern of collision,” he reportedly said. “So clearly, the Russians were sending us a message.”
Thompson told the paper earlier this month at a conference that despite Russia’s bluster, the Chinese were “well ahead” of their neighbors when it came to “fielding operational systems at an incredible rate.”
The Halifax International Security Forum opened just days after a Russian anti-satellite weapon test destroyed an obsolete Soviet-era satellite, sending debris flying towards the International Space Station, the New York Post reported.
China launched a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile into low orbit several months earlier. However, a Pentagon spokesperson said the move would “only increase tensions in the region and beyond,” according to the Post.
Now, China is launching satellites into space at twice the rate of the US and will eventually surpass the country in its orbital output, Thompson told the newspaper.
“We are still the best in the world, clearly in terms of capability. They’re catching up quickly,” he said. “We should be concerned by the end of this decade if we don’t adapt.”
The White House, on numerous occasions, has tried to negotiate international rules for cyberspace and space as well as nuclear arms control with Beijing. Chinese officials, however, rebuked the diplomatic effort, according to the editorial — which argued that the United States had to be more watchful above the atmosphere.
In the event of a space war, Thompson reportedly suggested that the deployment of many relatively low-cost satellites around space assets would position the US better.
Thompson didn’t deny or confirm if there had been any severe attacks on US satellites. However, he reportedly explained that such an event would be classified information, and he would not be able to discuss it.
Team Mag Grand
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