Friday, February 03, 2006

And so the space wars begin

I have mentioned in this space before that I support the U.S. space program (if not necessarily NASA) and forays to the moon and Mars because I see a strategic value to it. China is clearly ambitious about its own space exploration, and if we give up on manned exploration, we cede space, and therefore our communications and spy satellites, to China. Don't think for a second that if China found itself in war with us that it wouldn't hesitate to fry our satellites if they could. Little did I know that China was going to start to build that threat to our satellites right here on terra firma:
Beijing announced plans last week to build a high-frequency radar on the South Pole. Analysts say the radar could be used to disrupt U.S. intelligence satellites.

The radar will be built at China’s Zhongshan Station, where Beijing has set up of a space environment lab.

National security analysts say the South Pole site, because of its remoteness, could be used by China to develop anti-satellite lasers capable of blinding or disrupting U.S. reconnaissance satellites, most of which pass over the pole.
China’s space program, unlike the U.S. space program, is directly related to Chinese military operations.

The USSR and the United States did an honorable thing in the 1970's by working together in space and keeping militaries out (mostly done because Moscow could no longer compete in space). We should not be so naive as to think all the nations of the world will follow that lead as they begin their own space exploration. For our highly digitized nation, our satellites are the arteries of our economy and defense, and they are highly vulnerable. We have to at least be in a position to defend them from threats in space.

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