United States concern as China targets spy satellite with laser beam

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ColtCarbine, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    United States concern as China targets spy satellite with laser beam

    CHINA has beamed a ground-based laser at American spy satellites over its territory, the US defence deparment has said.

    The department would not say which satellite was involved or when it occurred.

    Donald Kerr, the director of the Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office, confirmed the incident, but said it did not materially damage the US satellite's ability to collect information.

    "It makes us think," Mr Kerr told reporters.

    Critical US space assets include a constellation of 30 global positioning satellites that help target bombs and find enemy locations. This system is also widely used in commercial applications, ranging from car navigation systems to automatic teller machines.

    The Pentagon also depends on communications satellites that relay sensitive messages to battlefield commanders, and satellites that track weather in critical areas so US troops can plan their missions.

    "Space is a much bigger part of our military posture than it used to be, so any effort by the Chinese or anybody else to jam our satellites is potentially a big deal," said Loren Thompson, a defence analyst at the Lexington Institute.

    Clearly, the incident sparked fresh concerns among US officials and watchdog groups about America's ability to determine if satellite problems are caused by malfunctions, weather anomalies, or targeted attacks.

    The US air force space commander General Kevin Chilton said it was often difficult to know exactly what happened to satellites orbiting from 125 to 22,400 miles above the Earth.

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