Space Wars: Russia And China Respond To US Militarization Of Space

By Drago Bosnic,
Published by Southfront, 28 October 2022

While the militarization of space is certainly not in the interest of the world, the political West keeps pushing for an exponential increase in the deployment of military assets to Earth’s orbit.

In recent days, the Russian military has reiterated its warning that it will consider foreign satellites legitimate targets if it determines that they are providing militarily viable information which is then used to attack Russian forces. According to The Associated Press, the new warning from Moscow was announced on Thursday and is as follows: “Amid the battles, Russia issued a warning that the United States could be drawn into the conflict, adding it could target Western commercial satellites used for military purposes in support of Ukraine.”

The official statement was given by the Deputy Chief of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control and Nonproliferation Department, Konstantin Vorontsov, who said that “quasi-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for retaliation.”

The announcement comes mere days after the controversial multibillionaire Elon Musk stated that his SpaceX will continue providing Starlink services to the Kiev regime forces. The question of potential Pentagon funding for the satellite network was also raised by Musk, revealing a direct connection between the supposedly “civilian” Starlink system and the US military. Even in the case that public funding by the US Department of Defense (DoD) is not officially secured, Russia is extremely likely to target the satellite network if it determines that its contribution to the Kiev regime forces is militarily significant. Despite SpaceX’s complaints that it cannot afford to sustain operations indefinitely on its own due to high costs, the much bigger problem for the US-based private space company would be having a military superpower targeting its satellites in space.

The Neo-Nazi junta in Kiev claims that Starlink is “essential to its ability to repel the Russian advance, as it’s often used in frontline communications where no other comms links exist.” According to the Amsterdam-based Moscow Times: “‘Commercial satellites used by the United States to assist the Kiev regime in its war against Russia are legitimate targets for attacks,’ an unnamed Russian diplomat said on Wednesday. Private assets like Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet constellation, as well as Maxar and Planet Labs earth observation satellites, have proven critical in keeping Ukrainians online and piercing the fog of war.”

As previously mentioned, this is not the first time that Russia warned about the use of civilian space assets for military purposes. Last month, Vorontsov warned that “non-military satellites used by the Kiev regime constitute indirect involvement in military operations,” clearly implying that they are very likely to be targeted. Although Vorontsov didn’t specify that Starlink or any other private company were involved, his statement in the United Nations was quite clear and implied that the involvement of any civilian enterprise will not be tolerated. The Foreign Ministry of Russia also made similar statements on Thursday. The Ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that the US is pursuing a “thoughtless and mad” escalation. “The more the US is drawn into supporting the Kiev regime on the battlefield, the more they risk provoking a direct military confrontation between the biggest nuclear powers fraught with catastrophic consequences,” Zakharova warned.

China has also repeatedly warned against the use of civilian satellites in a potential confrontation in Taiwan. In order to deter the political West’s belligerence, the Chinese military is already conducting anti-satellite simulations to test its capabilities in space defense. According to Asia Times, Beijing has simulated using nuclear weapons to destroy near-Earth orbit satellites, a capability that could “knock out multiple enemy satellite constellations used to support military operations.” The Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology, a Xian-based research institute run by the Chinese military, claims to have developed a model to “evaluate the performance of nuclear anti-satellite weapons at different altitudes and yields with unprecedented detail and accuracy.”

The simulation showed that a 10-megaton thermonuclear warhead has the capacity to destroy satellites and other space-based assets if it detonates at an altitude of 80 kilometers. According to the research team, the thermonuclear blast turns air molecules into a pear-shaped cloud of radioactive particles that can cause failures and damage to satellites. Nuclear physicist Liu Li and his team published the findings in the Nuclear Techniques peer-reviewed journal. Liu’s team noted: “A space-based nuclear explosion would be ineffective as the lack of air would not generate a large radioactive cloud. Furthermore, the Earth’s atmosphere would capture most of the high-energy particles created by the blast and spread it around the globe as a radiation belt, threatening a wide range of spacecraft.”

Both Russia and China have made significant investments in their military capabilities in space. The Russian military is already deploying a number of directed energy weapons capable of targeting satellites in orbit, while China is already launching secretive spaceplanes on a regular basis. Both (Eur)Asian giants also operate anti-satellite missiles which have been tested and have successfully hit targets in space. While the militarization of space is certainly not in the interest of the world and is even banned by a number of international treaties, the political West (particularly the US) keeps pushing for an exponential increase in the deployment of military assets to Earth’s orbit, which will inevitably lead to a response from other world powers with significant capabilities in space.

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