Chinese scientists plan to blow up Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites after labeling SpaceX a threat, report claims


CHINESE researchers have called for the development of anti-satellite technology as Elon Musk’s Starlink fleet grows.

Defense scientists in China said that the nation needs to be able to protect itself from SpaceX’s Starlink satellites if they pose a threat to national security, The Register reports.

Chinese researchers have called for the development of anti-satellite technology as Elon Musk's Starlink fleet grows

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Chinese researchers have called for the development of anti-satellite technology as Elon Musk’s Starlink fleet growsCredit: John Pisani/ thespacecoastlocal.com

In a paper published last month in Modern Defence Technology, Chinese officials emphasized that in order to achieve this, China needs to develop anti-satellite capabilities.

The defense system should be able to disable or destroy Starlink satellites and must feature a surveillance tool that can track and monitor them.

Ren Yuanzhen, a researcher with the Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications, led the study alongside several senior scientists in China’s defense industry.

“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,” the study’s authors write.

When Starlink was founded in 2014 by Elon Musk, the project had ambitions of bringing reliable internet service to remote countries.

However, since then, SpaceX has signed a contract with the US Defense Department to develop new technology based on the Starlink platform.

Part of SpaceX’s joint mission with the US government includes building instruments that can detect and track hypersonic weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere, per South China Morning Post.

This, as well as Starlink satellites’ ability to swiftly change orbits – in an offensive move – is of concern to Chinese military officials.

Furthermore, it may be possible for US military payloads to be discreetly launched amid a fleet of Starlinks Satelittlies, Ren said.

Ren claimed that China has already developed numerous ground-based laser imaging devices that can photograph orbiting satellites.

However, the nation also needs to be able to intercept signals from each Starlink satellite to detect possible threats.

Currently, there are more than 2,300 Starlink Satellites in low orbit around Earth.

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“The Starlink constellation constitutes a decentralized system,” the researchers said.

“The confrontation is not about individual satellites, but the whole system. This requires some low-cost, high-efficiency measures.”

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