A number of Pentagon officials are very concerned about the space program China follows. The Asian nation is developing its orbital and space exploration capabilities at an incredible pace, and this is making the US military extremely uncomfortable.
Intelligence officials say that China could easily develop space-based weapons programs. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has never denied that it may pursue the development of military applications in Earth's orbit.
One of the things the Americans are most concerned with is the fact that China continues to develop attack systems that enable it to destroy satellites in orbit. Other technologies allow Beijing to simply disable the “eyes in the sky.”
The United States is heavily reliant on its advanced satellite constellation for most of its military capabilities. The spacecraft enable the military to achieve perfect timing between various branches, to pinpoint strike location precisely, and to intercept enemy communications.
Other countries that boast large numbers of satellites in orbit are also becoming a bit nervous. These nations are concerned with the Chinese manned space program, saying that that could have military applications as well.
“The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China's growing ability to deny or degrade the space assets of potential adversaries and enhances China's conventional military capabilities,” Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess explains, quoted by Space
The official is the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He made the announcement during a statement he gave before the US Senate's Armed Services Committee, on February 16.
Strategically speaking, China has established its priorities for the long-run, and is sticking to them admirably. Beijing obviously wants the country to become a major power, perhaps the largest, and is supporting the development of relevant technologies that could help it reach this objective.
CNSA is in the process of developing the Beidou satellite navigation constellation, which would enable it to obtain positioning data independent of the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS). By 2020, the Asian nation plans to have its own space station, and then put a man on the Moon.
China “is developing jammers and directed-energy weapons for ASAT missions,” Burgess explains, referring to anti-satellite mission objectives.
“A prerequisite for ASAT attacks, China's ability to track and identify satellites is enhanced by technologies from China's manned and lunar programs as well as technologies and methods developed to detect and track space debris,” he concludes.