The US just can’t catch a break. First, they employ sanctions on Russia inching closer to what seems to be another start of the cold war era. Now reports of China aiming to build space weapons are coming out threatening the US’s moniker of being the global leader in space exploration.
The news came out in a Global Risk Assessment report last week by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The report details a spike in the military and commercial activity of China near the Earth’s orbit. The report says that China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, plans to “match or exceed U.S. capabilities in space to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits that Washington has accrued from space leadership”.
The report details China’s increasing capability of shooting satellites out of the sky using missiles. They are also capable of crippling low Earth satellites using lasers by targeting their sensitive optical sensors. All of this points to signs of increased space militarization and future threats.
According to ODNI Director, Avril Haines, “I think there’s just no question, as a general matter, that China is focused on achieving leadership in space, in fact, as compared to the United States and has been working hard on a variety of different efforts in this area to try to contest what has been presumed our leadership”.
The US certainly shouldn’t expect to always be at the forefront when it comes to space. Unless they step up their game even Russia is going to be a competitor.
Aside from China, the report also detailed Russia’s military capabilities. Their weapons include “jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based ASAT capabilities—to target US and allied satellites”.
US competitors are slowly catching up.