Star wars: USA raises alarm over threats to space supremacy

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More than a third of all recorded debris is from two events: China's use of a missile in 2007 to destroy a defunct satellite and the accidental collision between a USA communications satellite and a defunct Russian one in 2009.

Space is the common property of all mankind, not the private property of the Americans, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing. "'The future of war" USA and China have seen relations deteriorate grow across a range of fronts in the past year, from trade tensions with the Trump administration to diplomatic and military disputes.

"China and Russian Federation, in particular, are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived U.S. reliance on space-based systems and challenge the United States position in space", it added, citing examples including jamming technology and directed energy weapons.

"Chinese and Russian doctrine indicate that they view space as important to modern warfare and view counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce US and allied effectiveness", the senior official said. At the same time, control over space is increasingly contested.

China is developing sophisticated space capabilities such as "satellite inspection and repair" and debris clean-up - "at least some of which could also function" as weapons against USA satellites, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency in a report published on Monday.

It calls out both China and Russian Federation as two countries with the technological prowess to take down United States communication and navigational satellites, which could cause mayhem for businesses and the military.

"The People's Liberation Army also sees counterspace operations as a means to deter and counter a possible U.S. intervention during a regional military conflict", the report said, adding that destroying satellites would make it hard for the United States to target precision guided weapons.

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This capability supports both space operations and counter space systems, it said. This United States lead is a challenge to Russian Federation and China, and DIA officials said they expect they will continue to develop counters to American capabilities.

"The DIA report made unwarranted and utterly baseless comments on the space policies of relevant countries including China", she added.

One threat is a result of the successes in space.

'Russia is also developing an airborne (anti-satellite) laser weapon system to use against space-based missile defence sensors, ' the report says.

"The number of satellites and debris on orbit will grow concurrently, making tracking satellites, discriminating threats from non-threats, and predicting and preventing collisions a greater challenge", it said. "The United States harnesses the benefits of space for communications, financial transactions, public safety, weather, agriculture, navigation and more".

"Both states are developing jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities and ground-based antisatellite missiles that can achieve a range of reversible to non-reversible effects", said the report.

"Space is fundamental to USA prosperity", the Pentagon official said.