Chinese military urged to destroy Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites


The researchers found that Starlink had strong ties to the American military (Image: Starlink)

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites are making the Chinese government so nervous that they are working on plans to disable them.

According to a paper published last month, Chinese military researchers have expressed concern about the military threat posed by the Starlink constellation.

The paper reportedly highlights the need for China to develop countermeasures to destroy the satellites if they threaten the country’s national security.

“A combination of soft and hard kill methods should be used to make some Starlink satellites lose their functionality and destroy the constellation’s operating system,” reads a translation of the article published in China’s Modern Defense Technology Journal.

The study was led by Ren Yuanzhen, a researcher at the Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications, which is funded by the Chinese state.

Researchers found that Starlink had strong ties to the American military and was funded by the US Air Force to test how well Starlink satellites could connect encrypted to military aircraft.

“In May 2020, the US Army signed an agreement with SpaceX to use Starlink’s broadband to transmit data over military networks; in October 2020, SpaceX won a $150 million contract to develop satellites for military use; in March 2021, it announced its plan to work with the US Air Force to further test Starlink internet,” the paper said.

As the war in Ukraine demonstrated, Starlink satellites can provide vital infrastructure for communications in times of war.

Starlink undoubtedly gives any side that has it an advantage from space, and unlike traditional telecommunications infrastructure like relay stations and submarine cables, Starlink satellites are more difficult to disable.

In April, Russia even tried to disable Starlink with an electromagnetic attack and failed spectacularly.

While China already has methods for disabling traditional satellites using microwave jammers, aimed lasers, and ballistic missiles, the paper notes that the Starlink constellation is “not about individual satellites, it’s about the entire system.”

‘This requires some inexpensive, highly efficient measures,’ the researchers write.

Starlink plans to create a constellation of 42,000 satellites, with more than 2,300 active satellites now in orbit. There are far too many to address individually.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China, January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Elon Musk attends the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory opening ceremony in Shanghai, China (Image: Reuters)

China plans to counter the threat posed by Starlink’s capabilities by building a competing network.

In 2020, China announced a plan to develop a constellation of at least 10,000 satellites in low Earth orbit called StarNet. According to an Asia Times, the project is expected to be deployed over the next decade Report citing a publication from the official China News Service.

StarNet could be China’s answer to competing space infrastructure with anti-satellite capabilities, including a surveillance system to track and monitor all Starlink satellites.

This is hardly the first time Musk has been in China’s bad books. Last year, the billionaire’s SpaceX satellites drew heavy criticism on Chinese social media after two nearly crashed into a Chinese space station.

MORE: Russia tried to stop Elon Musk’s Starlink with electromagnetic attack and failed spectacularly

MORE : Elon Musk refuses to block Russian state media access to Starlink Chinese military urged to destroy Elon Musk's Starlink satellites

Justin Scacco

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