Re: The Verge: Elon Musk says Starlink internet service will be ‘fully mobile’ in 2021

grarpamp grarpamp at
Thu May 26 19:48:22 PDT 2022

China's Military Must Be Able To Destroy SpaceX's Starlink Satellites:

The Chinese military must be able to destroy SpaceX's Starlink
satellites if they pose a threat to national security, according to an
April publication by Chinese military researchers.

The researchers speculated that US military drones and stealth fighter
jets could boost their data transmission speed by more than 100x using
the Starlink network. Notably, SpaceX has signed a contract with the
US Department of Defense to develop technology based on the Starlink
platform - which includes instruments sensitive enough to track
hypersonic weapons traveling at 5x the speed of sound or faster.

The paper also recommends developing a satellite surveillance system
with 'unprecedented scale and sensitivity' in order to track every
Starlink satellite, according to the South China Morning Post.

    The study was led by Ren Yuanzhen, a researcher with the Beijing
Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications under the PLA’s Strategic
Support Force. Co-authors included several senior scientists in
China’s defence industry. -SCMP

"A combination of soft and hard kill methods should be adopted to make
some Starlink satellites lose their functions and destroy the
constellation’s operating system," reads the paper, published in
China's peer-reviewed journal Modern Defence Technology.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk is generally considered popular in
China, however he received harsh criticism after two Starlink
satellites came 'dangerously close' to the Chinese space station last
Starlink satellites could threaten China’s national security in space
and on the ground, according to the researchers. Photo: Beijing
Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications

Musk notably provided over 12,000 Starlink dishes to Ukraine to help
facilitate broadband internet amid the war with Russia - which SpaceX
is providing free of charge.

"All critical infrastructure uses Starlink, all structures that are
needed for the state’s functioning use them," said Mykhailo Fedorov,
Ukraine's minister for digital transformation. "We need to receive
them constantly because they are one of the elements of the foundation
of our fight and resilience.

Another concern from the Chinese researchers is that Starlink
satellites all contain ion thrusters, which could allow them to
rapidly change orbits for a rapid move against high-value targets in

On the public-facing side of things, Starlink's popularity has
continued to grow - experiencing a 275% increase since January.

The research paper also suggests that the unprecedented scale and
flexibility of the Starlink system would allow the West to insert
military payloads into SpaceX commercial launches - necessitating the
development of new anti-satellite capabilities and a surveillance
system that can obtain super-sharp images of small satellites in order
to identify unusual features.

    China claims it has already developed numerous ground-based laser
imaging devices that can photograph orbiting satellites at a
millimetre-resolution, but in addition to optical and radar imaging,
the country also needs to be able to intercept signals from each
Starlink satellite to detect any potential threat, according to Ren.

    He said China had also showed its ability to destroy a satellite
with a missile, but this method could produce a large amount of space
debris, and the cost would be too high against a system consisting of
many small, relatively low-cost satellites. -SCMP

"The Starlink constellation constitutes a decentralised system. The
confrontation is not about individual satellites, but the whole
system. This requires some low-cost, high-efficiency measures," wrote
the researchers.

SCMP notes that Chinese scientists have already developed lasers for
blinding or damaging satellites, as well as cyber weapons that can
attempt to hack into the satellite communication network.

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