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Preparing For Satellite Defense

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the road-to-kessler-syndrome dept.

Space 118

Taco Cowboy sends a report into China's development of anti-satellite technology, and efforts by the U.S. and Japan to build defenses for this new potential battleground. Last year, China launched what they said was a science space mission, but they did so at night and with a truck-based launch system, which are not generally used for science projects. Experts believe this was actually a missile test for targets in geostationary orbit. U.S. and Japanese analysts say China has the most aggressive satellite attack program in the world. It has staged at least six ASAT missile tests over the past nine years, including the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007. ... Besides testing missiles that can intercept and destroy satellites, the Chinese have developed jamming techniques to disrupt satellite communications. In addition, ... the Chinese have studied ground-based lasers that could take down a satellite's solar panels, and satellites equipped with grappling arms that could co-orbit and then disable expensive U.S. hardware. To defend themselves against China, the U.S. and Japan are in the early stages of integrating their space programs as part of negotiations to update their defense policy guidelines. ... Both countries have sunk billions of dollars into a sophisticated missile defense system that relies in part on data from U.S. spy satellites. That's why strategists working for China's People's Liberation Army have published numerous articles in defense journals about the strategic value of chipping away at U.S. domination in space.

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And so begins space warfare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482365)

Make all the promises and treaties you want; when we get to space, we will militarize space.

Iron Dome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482375)

Works, pretend-like.

Bring back SDI!

big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482437)

make more fiber optics, space is so 1970s and retro and obsolete.

Hell we could even get rid of remote sensing by swarming a bunch of blimps. Our information processing technology has grown much faster than any other technology.

It's easier to stitch together 5 million pictures from blimps than it is to make a whole Star Wars laser defense fantasy for stupid old boxes floating in orbit.

Re:big deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482551)

Ssspawn more overlordsss

Re:big deal (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47482625)

You need more vespene gas.

Re:big deal (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#47483001)

You have to take out the Zerg early. I think we are screwed.

Re:big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484259)

Kekekekekekeke!

Re:big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47486635)

You have to take out the Zerg early. I think we are screwed.

Bullshit, protoss and terran late games trump zerg unless the zerg has skill, then its almost even.

Re:big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482675)

I'm sure I'm not the only one that read it with a Zerg "Accent".

Re:big deal (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 months ago | (#47482583)

It's kind of hard to spy on someone surreptitiously with a blimp...

Re:big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482663)

Really? You really think that? So technology didn't get better?

Re:big deal (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47482731)

The smart nations have leaned to track all easy to spot US efforts.
The really smart nations have noticed the more interesting changes with dark objects moving above their nations.
e.g. the funding fun that was Misty (satellite) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]
the other option is movement e.g. Boeing X-37
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]
Or you just follow the staff cell phones and watch their sites on networked CCTV?

Re:big deal (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#47483173)

Countries tend to get annoyed if you send blimps over their territory. You can get away with sats though.

New potential battleground? (2, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | about 3 months ago | (#47482487)

New since, umm, the 1960's? 1980's, anyway. The US has tested several different ASATs over the years, and has long had countermeasures. I assume other countries have countermeasures as well.

Re:New potential battleground? (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about 3 months ago | (#47482571)

What kinds of countermeasures are available? You can't intercept a laser, or is there some kind of coating they use? You can't easily dodge with the amount of fuel most satellites have. If there is another full scale war vs a major wold power, I don't think our satellites will last long. Hopefully we have practiced using other sorts of navigation.

Re:New potential battleground? (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47483143)

If there's a war with another superpower it's all over anyways because any general who see his realtime intelligence assets quickly going away is going to assume it's part of a preemptive strike plan and so will recommend we launch. That's why the idea of blinding the enemy is so dangerous, in a MAD scenario the only thing keeping the peace is the ability to verify that your enemy is not trying to perform a first strike.

Re:New potential battleground? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 months ago | (#47483843)

In the future it's all about space. He who owns Low Earth Orbit will own the planet. From satellites you can watch and attack at will. ICBM's will be useless so any delivery system will have to be cruise missile or strategic bombers. That's the problem with warfare, the game constantly changes.

Re:New potential battleground? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484003)

Seems like submarines will rule then(as they already do now). If you can't lob one from the other side of the globe, you can still pop up out of nowhere and deliver your payload in 5 minutes or less.

Re:New potential battleground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484571)

What an adorably naive and childish worldview! Oh to be eight again!

Re:New potential battleground? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 months ago | (#47485119)

Hell it was only what? A year ago you were 8. I don't understand why you want to repeat that.

oblig simpsons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484893)

The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots.

Re:New potential battleground? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47483663)

lasers are pretty easy to deflect with reflective surfaces. or you could just vent a cloud of gas or vapor that will attenuate the beam (obviously you'd have only so many uses of this tactic, but essentially "chaff" for lasers). plus even though lasers are coherent, they still diffuse some over extreme distances, which amplifies the power requirement in order to actually concentrate enough energy to do damage. plus the laser source would ideallyneed to be space-borne itself, simply because having to go through the atmosphere will also sap a lot of its power, in which case the advantage goes to whoever's weapon is already up there.

as far as dodging, it wouldn't take much. it would be limited, true. but once a missle or kinetic weapon missed you, it would have a helluva time trying to re-orient; it'd likely be completely unable to unless it had a ton of extra fuel. now on the other hand, a slower speed interceptor or missile, could better handle a dodging target. but then, that gives the target more time to use its countermeasures, such as its own laser or missile to take out the incoming threat.

Re:New potential battleground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47487129)

Well for one thing the really important military satellites are in a much higher orbit than the one China hit with an ASAT. Plus the Chinese ASAT test target was in a declining orbit and already in the upper atmosphere and way below even the commercial comm satellites in orbit when they destroyed it. Of course the US responded in kind so it's not like China demonstrated they had capabilities that others did not have. The there is the redundancy built in to the mil spec satellite network. Lasers powerful enough to damage a high orbit satellite, a satellite that can be put into a spin to dissipate the laser energy across a wide area, do not exist as of yet. I would think some type of rail gun would be much better than a laser. The US already possesses and has deployed rail gun technology. Then the US also has the ultimate satellite killer in its X-37B space plane that has been running classified missions over the past 3 years. An extremely maneuverable and long range craft capable of destroying or capturing any satellite currently in orbit.

Re:New potential battleground? (4, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 3 months ago | (#47482605)

Asymmetric warfare. The US has more space assets and is more heavily dependent on them. If space warfare ever occurred the US would be hurt relatively more. And I have a hard time of thing of any decent countermeasures.

Re:New potential battleground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482741)

Nuke them before they can attack. Preemptive strike.

Re:New potential battleground? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47483063)

Asymmetric warfare is a misnomer. All warfare is waged by two non-symmetric sides.

That said, the idea that if space warfare ever occurred, (in this scenario) the US would be hurt relatively more, is a shortsighted assumption. Your premise is based on the belief that no matter how hard the U.S. gets hit, it would refuse to retaliate in equal or greater strike(s).

The car analogy would be: if your neighbor destroys your car engine with thermite; you don't retaliate by slashing his car tires, you retaliate by shoot him dead in the drive way because you're terrified of what he'll use next.

Re:New potential battleground? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 3 months ago | (#47483523)

Your premise is based on the belief that no matter how hard the U.S. gets hit, it would refuse to retaliate in equal or greater strike(s).

No, I am not making that assumption. You are right the opponents seek to exploit their opponent's weaknesses, and just because one has a relative strength in one area does not mean you have an absolute advantage. I just think that in this area we have a large potential weakness that would be hard to shore up against China.

Re:New potential battleground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484899)

The U.S. does have large potential weaknesses in space, but thats by design.

During the Cold War, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. both (effectively) adopted a "defense-only" posture when it came to outer space. Cue the U.S. "Star Wars" program, which didn't work, but it didn't matter because the U.S.S.R.'s effectively adopted a similar "defense-only" posture in space.

Fast forward to the 21st century and China decides to develop anti-satellite weaponry. Since the U.S. and Russia (formerly the U.S.S.R.) had effectively mothballed their space militarization efforts, China looks like an unstoppable military machine in space. Could the U.S. and Russia kick China's ass out of orbit in a space militarization race? Easily. SHOULD they? Most people would probably say no.

Risky games (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 3 months ago | (#47485867)

But having assets in place might assist in their defense. If you start attacking us space assets, it is a fair bet that the us will consider that an act of war. I will bet you money there are some military sats in orbit that have offensive capabilities. Start shooting at sats, and you might get a 10 pound tungsten bar de-orbited on your ground based laser or ASAT launcher. Being is space is a POWERFUL position on the military game board.

Re:New potential battleground? (4, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47483567)

I think the new part here was being able to reach targets in geostationary orbits. We've long had the ability to take out the orbits closer to earth, but geostationary is typically 22,000+ miles out. I'm not sure if our weapons yet have the capability to reach those satellites.

Re:New potential battleground? (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about 3 months ago | (#47485545)

If you can put a satellite there, you can put a weapon there as well. Payload has little to do with the capability to get there.

We must not allow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482495)

a mine shaft gap.

Re:We must not allow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482641)

a mine shaft gap.

A population gap (damn how is the US going to close on this one eh ? )

Re:We must not allow (1)

ahaweb (762825) | about 3 months ago | (#47485341)

More population = more people to keep from starving

Why bother with a defense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482503)

It's not like we need a specific defense against these attacks. It's an act of war between two nuclear powers -- a disabled satellite would be the least of our concerns.

Re:Why bother with a defense? (4, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#47483089)

Acts of war happen all the time - even armed conflict. Just because two nuclear powers go to war doesn't mean nukes will start flying - that probably triggers MAD and everybody loses. We're in new territory here - MAD mostly brought a cease-fire to the World War (parts I, II, and Cold), but that doesn't mean the conflicts are ended, it just means the rules fundamentally changed and, coupled with the implosion of the Soviet Union, we haven't yet had enough reason to work out the new rules of open conflict. But if there's anything history has taught us is that war never goes away for long. Hell, how many nuclear powers have been attacked by non-nuclear powers in the last century? You think the fact that I have nukes is going to make me dramatically *less* likely to attack a nuclear power than if I did not?

The goal in nuclear-age warfare would seem to be to push your opponent as hard as you can without making MAD look like an attractive option. That is to say the potential winner has strong incentive to stick to reasonable demands - of course even total surrender might still be on the table, provided you could sufficiently appease the individuals capable of launching a nuclear strike. What do you think - is full citizenship under the new regime for your people and $100 billion each, paid discretely in gold to untraceable accounts, enough to convince most administrations that surrender of the nation they're currently leading is preferable to mutual annihilation?

Re:Why bother with a defense? (2)

sound+vision (884283) | about 3 months ago | (#47486805)

I don't think anyone sane would refuse that deal, but what concerns me more is the possibility of someone insane getting within arm's reach of the launch button. History is littered with examples, but one thing that immediately comes to mind is something Hitler said during the last few days before German defeat - something like "We may be defeated, but we will take the world along with us" as he ordered that German citizens fight down to the last man, including children and civilians. There didn't seem to be much concern for either his or anyone else's population, and he had already resigned himself to suicide, so all the gold in the world would have meant nothing.

Currently the closest we have to that craziness (out of nuclear-armed nations) is North Korea, but that can change quickly. Maybe Kim Jong Un decides to pick up a speed habit like Hitler did, and it puts him over the edge? Maybe political instability somewhere results in incompetent and/or crazy people getting a hold of some nukes (similarly to the Malaysian jet that was just shot down)?

Iron Sky (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 3 months ago | (#47482507)

Without military satellites, how can we protect ourselves from the Nazis from Moon [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Iron Sky (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 3 months ago | (#47482529)

We beat them by sending the Japanese prime minister [wikipedia.org] into space to beat him at mahjong.

Re:Iron Sky (2)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 3 months ago | (#47482587)

All kidding aside, I think this illustrates how important it is that we establish permanent moon telecommunications infrastructure.

Re:Iron Sky (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 3 months ago | (#47482597)

I apologize for the possible mis-use of the word telecommunications.

Re:Iron Sky (1)

mccabem (44513) | about 3 months ago | (#47484507)

Then China targets the moon? It may take them longer, but I fail to see how that's better.

-Matt

Re:Iron Sky (2)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 3 months ago | (#47484653)

It's much easier to deploy countermeasures from a large body of land than a relatively small satellite in orbit. It takes much longer for a missile to get there so there's a longer opportunity to respond. Different international regulations on bombing the moon. Redundancy for emergency failure. We can continue to target our nukes at them while the closer satellites are taken out. I could keep going on but either you'll understand or fail to see the motivations. "Better" is probably not the precise word to use here.

This can only end in one place (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482531)

Kessler syndrome. [wikipedia.org] Thanks, China!

This can only end in one place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47485525)

You do realize that even with the Chinese ASAT test a VAST majority of the debris in orbit is US and Russian right? Not saying that we're not risking a Kessler Syndrome if we're stupid enough to use LEO as a battleground, but the US and Russians made quite a bit of progress towards it before the Chinese even launched their first mouse.

http://www.datapult.info/sites/default/files/4DA0AE3267200BB2.1.png

DoD (2)

Ben C. (2950903) | about 3 months ago | (#47482533)

On the plus side, if space gets militarized then the United States will actually spend money on it.

Re:DoD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482789)

Space is already militarized.

Re:DoD (2, Funny)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#47483497)

Why? There's no oil in space.

Re:DoD (1)

ahaweb (762825) | about 3 months ago | (#47485375)

Money spent on space used to be dual-use (civilian and military). Now it's single-use (military), and the civilian stuff is private.

Known risk (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 3 months ago | (#47482563)

This puts a new spin on the phrase "sitting duck".

Looks like WALL-E was a prediction (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 3 months ago | (#47482589)

We'll need to break through the space junk to get to the moon or Mars:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Arc Net Shield (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47482645)

Did the Men in Black fail their mission? Which timeline is this again?

Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47482689)

Tell me again how the US has no capabilities of taking down satellites?
Obviously they would build anti satellite missiles and test them.
For the same reason the US and other countries keep stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
When the shit hits the fan you need to knock out your opponent as fast as possible.

Re:Right (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 months ago | (#47484645)

If somebody attacks USA, such as say China, then it is already too late to make use of anti-sats. anti-sats are a first strike system.

so? (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47482713)

Given that the US is almost assuredly got armed satellites in orbit, and the US Airforce has a unmanned space shuttle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

I think it's a bit silly to call this anything other than "Common sense" on China's part. At the very least during an armed conflict the US could use these satellites to spy on China... at worst they could nuke them from orbit. If they didn't have an anti-satalite program they'd be remiss in their duties I'd think.

space junk (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 3 months ago | (#47482989)

there should be some treaties in place that would only allow space warfare if they properly handle the resulting space junk, otherwise space will become a no man land. perhaps this would result in non explosive/kinetic attacks, capture and burn in the atmosphere attacks, and repositioning attacks.

Re:space junk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47483829)

How would you enforce such a treaty?
Once you are at war with a country I doubt they'd care if they broke some treaty.

Re:space junk (1)

mccabem (44513) | about 3 months ago | (#47484535)

Download Google Earth and get the extension that shows all orbiting satellites (including junk). It's pretty startling how much crap has been shot up into space and just left there.

It makes a good reminder of how stupid some things are that seem to make so much sense at the time we're doing them.

-Matt

Re:space junk (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47484679)

there should be some treaties in place that would only allow space warfare if

Useful hint: first thing that happens when you decide to start a war is that you junk the Treaties.

Or do you really think all it takes to prevent war is a Treaty of Eternal Chumship between all nations on Earth?

Re:space junk (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47485353)

there should be some treaties in place that would only allow space warfare if they properly handle the resulting space junk, otherwise space will become a no man land. perhaps this would result in non explosive/kinetic attacks, capture and burn in the atmosphere attacks, and repositioning attacks.

We were also under treaty to assist Ukraine should they be invaded...

Re:space junk (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 3 months ago | (#47487171)

Who are we? America never had a treaty to assist the Ukraine if they were invaded.

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47483141)

Except its a lopsided reaction. If your neighbor buys an axe, it is not "common sense" to go out and buy a gun because you're afraid he might use the axe to break into your house.

When you're neighbor starts using that axe to chop apart doors in the back yard, THEN you can start getting worried.

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47486043)

Depends a lot on your neighbor.

If he spends a lot of time talking about burglary, doesn't own a wood stove, and buys the axe shortly after you tell him in passing that you're going to be away on vacation for a couple days...

GPS needed for everything (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about 3 months ago | (#47483411)

I wonder, how much high tech military gear (including drones) the US can operate if their GPS system goes down?

Sure those things are not in low orbit but you start at lower orbit and work for outward from that. Plus the US has been wasting money on space based weapons systems since the 1980s and those were low orbit. Spy satellites are not the big deal.

Re:GPS needed for everything (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 months ago | (#47484637)

Nearly all of it. THey have interia guidance systems for dealing with this. By the time that an ICBM is in space, they are no longer using GPS.

Now as to conventional stuff, we have multiple ways of triangulating and controlling locations. If GPS is taken out, then the battle field will still be OK. Where GPS really helps is if you want to change a cruise missile, etc in-route to a different target and you do not have an active targeting system.

Re:GPS needed for everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47485675)

ICBM's do not need GPS or any sattelite to hit a target.
Inertial guidance is accurate enough because nukes do not require pinpoint accuracy.

Re:GPS needed for everything (1)

Jahoda (2715225) | about 3 months ago | (#47485027)

GPS is convenient for the military to have, but they are in no way dependent upon it to conduct operations. Very paranoid folks, those guys.

GPS needed for everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47487425)

GPS is *NOT* needed for Nuc Sub navigation. It *IS* used for Nuclear Submarine navigation, but they also have SINS (Ships Inertial Navigation Systems), ESGM (ElectroStatic Gyro Monitors), and precision navigational sonars. The ESGM is a small marble-sized beryllium ball, in an evacuated chamber, suspended by high voltage electrostatic charges, and rotated to RF frequencies. It has (for all practical purposes) *NO* gyro drift. This enables the SINS to use it as an internal/on-board heading reference for extended periods of time, and thus keep the SINS quite close.

Speaking as an ex Nuc Submariner and SINS Analyst: in a nutshell, a SINS will give you two out of three of the following: Speed, Position, or Heading, if you have at least one of the others. With ESGM, you constantly have a good heading, and thus you can go a pretty long time without a position fix.

Sure GPS makes it easier, and a bit more accurate, but it isn't needed.

Certainly long enough to keep things accurate between SONAR fixes.

Re: so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47483633)

US has already lost. It is a long game and the Chinese will win it. China has the numbers and, frankly, people in America are getting too obese to reproduce. But seriously, with a general dumbing down in Western societies, soon all the smart people will be born in China and India. It's game over if the US can't figure out how to get the Chinese hooked on fast food and crappy TV shows.

Could be worse (3, Insightful)

aprentic (1832) | about 3 months ago | (#47482737)

The US has military satellites for a reason.
Given that the US has a reputation for invading countries they don't like it only makes sense to defend against them and there are several potential strategies for doing so.
I feel much better about China going the defensive route (get ready to blow up the satellites) rather than the MAD route (start stockpiling nukes).

Re:Could be worse (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#47482945)

This isn't an either - or. They are doing both.

Re:Could be worse (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#47483201)

Are you so sure they're not doing both? I certainly would, and in today's climate it would be bad PR to publicize the fact that you are growing your stockpiles before their size becomes sufficient to rival the primary threats and/or their imminent usage becomes a serious possibility. After all you're not looking to leverage a cold war against your own population - just ensure that if/when the day comes you're the one standing on higher ground.

WRONG. (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 months ago | (#47484609)

The route that they are going, is NOT defensive. It is OFFENSIVE. Look, lets say that the west decides to launch against China. By the time that China realizes this, the ICBMs are on their way and have already switched off from sats and are working with intertia systems.

Where anti-sat systems come into play, from a military pov, is knocking out the enemies eyes and communications PRIOR to your launching first strike.
China is busy developing a first strike set-up, that is useless for defense.

In addition, it is now known by the general public that China has active nuclear work going on. They can claim only 300 warheads, but, why hide a nuke facility underground and by a lake then? There was no reason for it, UNLESS you are up to things that get around treaties.

WRONG. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47486609)

Your entire tone is aggressive and one-sided.

For instance your last paragraph. You are aware that the US has multiple underground facilities, yes? And that they generally don't like to advertise them? So is the US trying to "get around treaties?"

China is on a track to become a world power. Any such power is going to work on military technologies both defensive and offensive. If I were them I'd do it too, and so would you. Even if you develop a military system you never use, it can act as a deterrent, or develop tech that you can use elsewhere.

Rather than worry about Chinese military capability you instead ought to worry about their civilian government. You'll get farther that way. Hey you might even get a representative government for a billion+ people. Or would you rather be the modern day Edward Teller?

Geostationary? (3, Informative)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 months ago | (#47482959)

Most military assets are not in geostationary orbit. You get a better view from closer up, and you move around to cover more area.

Geostationary orbit is mostly for communications.

Re:Geostationary? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484033)

The geostationaries also probably handle drone C&C, which is of interest I'd imagine.

Sun Tzu already knew (1)

sdack (601542) | about 3 months ago | (#47483029)

The entire western world is thankful for the teachings of Sun Tzu. One cannot blame China for following a good defensive strategy.

By the way, the article makes it sound like it was an offence by China, but the initial offence is the one of nations putting spy satellites into space in the first place. It is then just twisted and ironic, if not funny, to see how the US and Japan seemingly want to defend themselves against China's defence plans, when it took some more spying to find out about the launch.

Be glad they are not stupidly trying to set up nuclear missiles on Cuba in order to get a "head start" in a nuclear world war like the Russians did.

Re:Sun Tzu already knew (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47483169)

Spy satellites aren't offensive, they're intelligence assets and good intelligence about equal opponents leads to more peace and calm, not more war. The Cuban missile crisis is a good example of this in action.

Re:Sun Tzu already knew (1)

sdack (601542) | about 3 months ago | (#47484307)

Well, this sadly only shows the culture you are growing up in. To some of us is spying a sign of mistrust and an offence. If you had read Sun Tzu would you know that spying is an act of war.

China's is more than 5,000 years old, possibly 10,000 years. The "Art of War" was written more than 2,500 years ago. The book alone is far older than the Bible or the USA. It is also being used at the military academy in Westpoint as teaching material.

Anyhow, when you then want to make China your enemy, should you also learn about them. Or let me quote Sun Tzu for you: "If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself."

But also the philosopher Socrates already knew "I know that I know nothing". Only some people cannot sleep before they think they have convinced themselves of knowing what exactly is going on, even when at the same time they also know they can never be sure and it could all be a trick.

To assume you have the right to spy on every one and nobody would take it as an offence is simply dumb.

Re: Sun Tzu already knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47486277)

I can shoot you and you can shoot me.
That's not fair, I put something to stop you from shooting me so only I can shoot you.
Now you put something to stop me from stopping you so you can also shoot me.
Wooo...that is not fair. You are very offensive, you are very aggressive, you are most evilest country in the whole universe, etc

Re:Sun Tzu already knew (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 months ago | (#47483599)

Be glad they are not stupidly trying to set up nuclear missiles on Cuba in order to get a "head start" in a nuclear world war like the Russians did.

Umm .. I think you need to learn some history. The Russian placement of missiles in Cuba was a response to the West's placements of similar missiles near the Russian border in Europe. And one of the terms of the resolution of the crisis in Cuba was a reduction of the West's missiles in Europe.

Re:Sun Tzu already knew (1)

sdack (601542) | about 3 months ago | (#47484051)

I said to be glad in comparison to what China could have done instead. Nothing more. You are missing the point if you now want to expand onto what happened in Europe. We might be sitting here all day and night just remind us what happened before then and then before then, and so on. Say, are you at least glad it is not worse?

They are stealing from Japan (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | about 3 months ago | (#47483051)

satellites equipped with grappling arms that could co-orbit and then disable expensive U.S. hardware

They watched Outlaw Star [wikipedia.org] decided that they had uncovered a Top Secret military program and then decided to copy them verbatim. [wikia.com] Can these guys do ANYTHING original?

With parts made in China. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47483551)

"To defend themselves against China, the U.S. and Japan are in the early stages of integrating their space programs as part of negotiations to update their defense policy guidelines." ... with parts made in Red Communist China.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47483733)

If the US makes it very clear that an attack on space-based infrastructure will initiate a nuclear response against mainland China, that should take care of it.

including the destruction of a defunct Chinese... (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | about 3 months ago | (#47483785)

> including the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007 Which was highly irresponsible and obnoxious on their part because to sprayed deadly space debris all over the place....

Re: including the destruction of a defunct Chinese (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484281)

...sprayed deadly space debris all over the place....

Which killed George Clooney and almost got Sandra Bullock too.

This would not be an issue today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484183)

This would not even be an issue today had Reagan been allowed to see SDI come to fruition.

Re:This would not be an issue today... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484559)

Oh, you are too funny. Spoken like a fucking tea-bagger that does not have a clue of what happened back then.

Re:This would not be an issue today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484775)

Or spoken like a true progressive trying to make Republicans look bad. This is why you can't trust anything or anyone anymore.

Wrong approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484263)

China is approaching this the correct way: use inexpensive means to cripple expensive systems. They can knock down twenty sats for the price it takes to put one in orbit, never mind the cost of the hardware. Adding more expense to the assets is the wrong way to defend against this; the correct way is to develop cheaper assets. We need to be able to match or exceed their knock-down capacity with our replacement capacity. If we can deploy replacement assets faster and cheaper than they can knock them out of the sky, then their entire premise falls apart, and their offensive capability is effectively neutralized.

Also, cutting launch costs by an order of magnitude would have beneficial effects in many different areas, even outside of defense.

Re:Wrong approach (1)

cerberusti (239266) | about 3 months ago | (#47485511)

It will always be easier to blow one up than to put it there. You do not need orbital velocity to take it out, you just need to get into its path at the correct time. This takes a lot less fuel to do, and should therefore be cheaper.

The scary part about this (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 months ago | (#47484547)

is that the anti-sat systems are really only useful in a FIRST ATTACK.
China is NOT thinking of MAD. They are planning and designing a first strike system.
This WILL lead to a war between the wests and China, along with China's Allies (north Korea, Iran, and whom ever else China is sharing nuke secrets with).

Re:The scary part about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47484705)

Not very useful, though. We've had global second-strike capacity since long before global positioning was a twilight in an engineer's eye.

Re:The scary part about this (1)

Duhavid (677874) | about 3 months ago | (#47485723)

Replying to remove moderation error.

I think you are exactly right.

Nuke China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47485713)

China is a threat. A very big and very real threat.

Can we just nuke them right now and get this over and done with before they get too powerful?
While we are at it, can we nuke the middle east too?
Those barbaric terrorists all need to die.

This will make the world a much safer place. Fuck the environment, its all moot if you are dead or a slave to some bullshit religious asshole.

Kessler Syndrome (1)

blackanvil (1147329) | about 3 months ago | (#47485777)

So, how long do you think it will be before Kessler syndrome finishes the job all these anti-satellite weapons and tests start? As one professor back in college (the class was 'War in the Nuclear Age') pointed out, you could take out all of geosync orbit with a large bag of sand if you got it going in the opposite direction from Earth's spin. LEO and MEO are both crowded enough that we could get a spontaneous Kessler syndrome even if we don't keep blowing the satellites up there into shrapnel. I suppose we can start replacing the critical satellites in inch-thick titanium, but when every launch requires a heavy lift launch vehicle we're going to lose a lot of satellite functionality.

Being back SR-71 for recon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47486445)

The SR-71 never had predetermined orbits and was more "maneuverable" than any satellite.

In a contest for intel, does the SR-71 (or something like it - a drone perhaps) still have a place in the war theatre?

Why keep the human? The goal is to minimise risk of mission failure due to comms being interrupted, etc.

Little freaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47487469)

Let's just blow those little bowl-cutted, bow-legged, slanty eyed aggressive assholes into oblivion. It's time they learned their morally bankrupt policies of theft, sabotage and manipulation will not go unpunished.

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