China threatened to block Elon Musk’s Starlink with another fleet of 13,000 satellites, amid claims that they could spy on the Communist government.
The military-sponsored Journal of the Chinese Society of Command and Control published a new academic paper suggesting that microwaves and lasers could be used to destroy Starlink satellites.
Starlink’s Earth orbiting satellites are being deployed for coverage of the entire planet.
According to the company, the network will provide internet connectivity worldwide, particularly in remote areas.
The Chinese paper claims that it is primarily intended to provide military intelligence, “seamless information”, and even “missile early warning and network for kinetic energy intercept”
According to the report, “Although US Space Exploration Corporation stated the Starlink constellation was built for providing space-based Internet services across the globe, the Starlink constellation received strong support from the US Military during construction and deployment.”
Starlink could also be threatened by a Chinese-made competitor, “GW”, according to the paper. According to the paper, GW will launch 12,992 satellites into orbit to compete with Starlink’s 3,500 spacecraft.
According to Professor Xu Can, a Chinese military’s Space Engineering University in Beijing, Neutralizing Starlink’s threat could be done using “high-power microwaves” and laser weapons to cause soft damage to communications satellites.
He said: “Lasers, high-power microwaves, etc. can be used to destroy the Starlink satellites’ reconnaissance payloads and cause them to lose their reconnaissance capabilities.
As the Chinese military appears to be increasingly reluctant to support Ukraine’s military, which is heavily dependent on Starlink, it suggests that they should inflict “soft damage” to stop Starlink.
SpaceX, the company behind Starlink , accused Ukraine earlier this month of “weaponizing” the network. Gwynne Shotwell, company president, stated: “Ukrainians leveraged it in unintentional ways and were not part of any agreement.”
Musk has also stated that SpaceX prevents Ukraine from using Starlink for long-range drone strikes.
SpaceX is becoming increasingly cautious about the use of Starlink terminals, even though they were initially rushed to Ukraine by the Russians in the first days following the invasion.
Musk made public complaints about the high cost of giving Ukraine’s military access to the terminals. The US government eventually provided funding.
This service was used to provide Wi Fi access to civilians living in cities across Ukraine, as a result of Russia’s deliberate Russian policy to destroy mobile phone masts and data centers to block Ukraine’s internet access.