The U.S. must be prepared to deal with Chinese aggression in space, said U.S. Strategic Command head Gen. John Hyten.
The U.S. military is dependent on satellites that are vulnerable to Chinese weapons, according to Hyten. He previously served as the leader of Air Force Space Command from 2014 to 2016 and has held numerous space related assignments over his 36 year-long military career.
“In the not-too-distant future, they [China] will be able to use that capability to threaten every spacecraft we have in space,” Hyten said in a Department of Defense press release. “We have to prevent that, and the best way to prevent war is to be prepared for war. So the United States is going to do that, and we’re going to make sure that everybody knows we’re prepared for war.”
The U.S. military uses satellites for navigation, communications, weather monitoring, ground surveillance, spying and missile defense. The threat against satellites has been obscured in today’s asymmetric warfare against terror cells that lack the ability to target U.S. space assets, according to a report published in August by the U.S. National Academies.
Defense experts believe China poses the biggest potential threat to U.S. space assets. China successfully destroyed one of its own satellites in 2007, and likely tested a ground-based missile launch system to destroy orbiting objects in 2013.
Defense officials believe China and Russia are developing space weapons capable of knocking out U.S. satellites — a potentially catastrophic edge in war. NatureWorldNews reported such technology could turn a simple accident in space into a war between the U.S. and China, or even Russia.
The Pentagon is pushing to create rules of conduct for space, and worry more space debris could make it harder to operate military satellites.
“Despite world interest in avoiding militarization of space, potential adversaries have identified the use of space as an advantage for U.S. military forces, and are actively fielding systems to deny our use of space in a conflict,” Hyten wrote in a white paper published in July.
“Securing our right to use space is simply an extension of an age old principle to guarantee use of global commons,” he wrote.
China’s space program has made big leaps in recent years.
The country staged a spacewalk, landed a rover on the Moon, increased its cooperation with Europe, and launched a demo space station since its first manned space launch in 2003.
China launched five crewed flights since 2003 and launched its second space station into orbit last September. The country’s annual space budget is less than the U.S., but most of NASA’s cash is spent on environmental issues and other fields not directly related to space exploration.
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