China Launches Multiple Satellites, Threatens US Dominance in Space

In recent months, China has launched several satellites and currently has 347 orbiting crafts with the capability of gathering intelligence on American armed forces, according to General Chance Saltzman, the head of the US Space Force. The general has issued a warning that China poses the most immediate threat to US operations in space. The country’s advancements in technologies such as lasers, electronic warfare jammers, and crafts capable of disrupting rival orbiting platforms make them a formidable adversary in space.

China’s ambition is to emerge as the foremost space-faring nation by 2045, which is an integral part of its plan to create a fully modernized, world-class military. Top US military officials have repeatedly cautioned that China’s progress in space technology, including the creation of reusable rockets, poses a significant challenge to US dominance in space.

China’s Rapid Progress in Space. China’s rapid economic growth has enabled significant investments in its space program, resulting in noteworthy advancements in its space military capabilities. This has made China’s space program a subject of interest for military analysts and governments across the globe as the country strives to explore the final frontier.

As China’s space program continues to advance, its military actions in space have created apprehension and provoked discussions about its motives and the possibility of a space arms race. Chinese officials have gone as far as likening the moon and Mars to the contested in the South China Sea’s islands that Beijing is striving to establish as its own territory.

Threats to US Space Capabilities.
China and Russia are presently engaged in the development, deployment, and operation of an assortment of weapons designed to target US space capabilities. General Saltzman has mentioned that the array of potential threats to US space capabilities comprises cyber warfare activities, electronic aggression platforms, directed energy lasers with the aim of impairing or damaging satellite sensors, ground-to-orbit missiles for destroying satellites, and space-to-space orbital engagement systems that can attack US satellites in space.

Saltzman further added that both Russia and China have studied how the US has become reliant on its satellites to conduct warfare. He noted that if US space capabilities were interfered with or destroyed, it would diminish their advantages and set the joint force at risk.

Pentagon’s Response to China’s Threat. The US Department of Defense intends to transition from larger and less secure geostationary satellites to an arrangement of smaller satellites that will be positioned in low-to-medium earth orbit. The objective of this strategy is to heighten the challenge for adversaries to displace satellites from their orbits, particularly when maneuverability is limited. With the implementation of a “proliferated low earth orbit constellation,” the US will no longer present a vulnerable and attractive target in a geostationary orbit that can be easily targeted by opposing forces.