WASHINGTON May 8 China has the most rapidly
growing space program in the world, and continues to develop
lasers, satellite jammers and other weapons aimed at the
space-based assets of adversaries, a new U.S. report said on
China has also built a "vast ground infrastructure" to
build, launch and control satellites, said the U.S. Defense
Department's annual report to Congress on military and security
issues related to China.
The report marked the latest push by U.S. military officials
to highlight increasing threats to U.S. satellite systems. Those
concerns prompted the Obama administration to propose $5
billion in extra spending over the next five years to increase
the security and resilience of U.S. military and spy satellites.
By October 2014, China had launched 16 spacecraft that had
expanded its satellite communications and surveillance
capabilities, including the first satellite that provided very
high resolution imagery, the report said.
The report provided new details about China's so-called
"counterspace" technologies. It said a launch in July 2014 had
renewed concerns about China's development of destructive space
technologies, despite public statements about the use of space
for peaceful purposes.
"The U.S. government is providing more details on Chinese
counterspace activities than they have in the past," said Brian
Weeden with the nonprofit Secure World Foundation. "The Pentagon
is clearly increasingly alarmed about China's growing space
capabilities and counterspace capabilities."
The July 2014 launch did not destroy a satellite or create
space debris, but the report cited evidence that suggested it
was a follow-up to the January 2007 test that destroyed a
defunct weather satellite and created hundreds of pieces of
In May 2013, China also launched an object into space on a
ballistic trajectory with a peak altitude of over 30,000 km
(18,641 miles), putting it near geosynchronous orbit, where many
nations have communications and earth-sensing satellites, the
The space vehicle reentered Earth's orbit after 9.5 hours,
which was not consistent with traditional space-launch vehicles,
ballistic missiles or rocket launches used for scientific
research, but could indicate a counterspace mission.
China had not responded to queries from the U.S. government
and other groups about the purpose and nature of the launch.
Chinese military writings continued to emphasize the
necessity of "destroying, damaging, and interfering with the
enemy's reconnaissance ... and communications satellites" to
"blind and deafen the enemy," the report said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal. Editing by Andre Grenon)