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Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Dragon?

chinese_asat_flyaround_thumb_2.jpgDT editor emeritus Noah Shachtman send us a heads up on a cool post at his current gig, The Danger Room. Here's an excerpt:

For years, the American armed forces have worried about an attack on US satellites; this could be how it begins. The United States military has become increasingly dependent on space. It uses photo-reconnaissance satellites to observe potential adversaries, GPS satellites to guide munitions with pin-point accuracy, communications satellites to handle the flow of information into and out of a theater of operations, and early warning satellites to detect and track enemy missile launches to name just a few of the better known applications. Because of this increasing dependence, many analysts have worried that the US is most vulnerable to asymmetric attacks against its space assets; in their view US satellites are sitting ducks without any sort of defense and their destruction would cripple the US military. Chinas test of a sophisticated anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon a year ago, Friday -- 11 January 2007, when it shot down its own obsolete weather satellite -- has only increased these concerns. But is this true? Could a countryeven a powerful country like China that has demonstrated a very sophisticated, if nascent, ability to shoot down satellites at all altitudesinflict anything close to a knock-out blow against the US in space? And if it was anything less than a knock-out, how seriously would it affect US war fighting capabilities?

So is China a valid space threat or not? Read Noah's three part series, starting with Part I here.

-- Ward

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