China has developed and successfully ground-tested a new anti-satellite weapon designed to “stick” to the body of enemy satellites so as to go unnoticed, then rendering it ineffective through jamming when activated.
The anti-satellite weapon, called a “parasitic satellite,” will be deployed experimentally and tested in space in the near future, according to the Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tai Jih Pao.
WorldNetDaily reported in early 1999 on China’s intentions to perfect an anti-satellite weapon.
Then, WND quoted Al Santoli, an Asian analyst at the American Foreign Policy Center and foreign policy adviser to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. Santoli explained that “China is ‘very interested’ in exploiting ‘asymmetrical warfare’ — a concept that involves attacking an enemy’s satellites, computer systems, and information infrastructure.”
In an AFPC “China Reform Monitor” brief published Wednesday, Santoli said the parasitic satellite is part of that effort.
“The weapon is being developed as part of China’s ‘asymmetrical’ [warfare] strategy to fight and win a high-tech war against a powerful adversary” — most notably, the technologically-superior military capabilities of the United States, according to published Chinese military “white papers.”
According to Santoli, “well-informed sources” say “China’s military has been working on ‘asymmetrical’ weapons capable of completely paralyzing enemy space-based fighting systems by ‘attacking selected vital points’ in [an enemy’s] information and weapons guidance systems.”
The Hong Kong paper said China’s new anti-satellite weapon is actually a “micro-satellite” designed to “stick” to the body of an enemy satellite, which could then be activated during times of war or national emergency, for the purpose of jamming or destroying the enemy satellite.
The report said the parasitic satellite — which otherwise goes undetected and won’t affect the normal functions and operations of the enemy satellite until activated — can be deployed against all types of satellites in low, medium or high orbits.
The weapon can be used against single or constellation satellites; constellations are groups of satellites linked together to provide global, or near-global, coverage. The U.S. military and American communications companies use constellations.
The Jih Pao also said enemy satellites would be unable to escape jamming or destruction by China’s parasitic satellites, no matter how sophisticated the satellite and regardless of its purpose — communications, early warning, navigational, reconnaissance or radar electronics jamming. The paper added that the weapon is even effective against a space station or a space-based laser weapon.
The American Foreign Policy Center’s report said the micro-satellite is “one-thousandth” of the cost of an ordinary, full-size satellite. Furthermore, defense analysts believe China will soon have the capability to launch reusable rockets and space vehicles, which will further reduce the cost of deploying the parasitic satellites.
“China’s objective is to greatly change the military balance between” Washington and Beijing, “and to make the U.S. not dare to become involved” in a conflict involving China, be it over Taiwan or any other Asian region China is seeking to influence, Santoli said, writing in China Reform Monitor.
Meanwhile, the Chinese space program is becoming more active, as Beijing plans to launch more than 30 regular satellites of all types — as well as a number of space vehicles — over the next five years, official Chinese news sources said Jan. 9.
Beginning in 2001, China plans to launch several unmanned space vehicles as a prelude to manned space missions within a few years.
China conducted its second successful launch of an experimental unmanned space vehicle on or about Jan. 10, the Xinhua news agency said.