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China begins in-orbit test of what it claims is a “space debris mitigation” satellite

The Space Force has now detected a second object flying next to a recently launched Chinese satellite that China claims will do an in-orbit test of a “space debris mitigation” system.

On Nov. 3 U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (SPCS) catalogued a new object alongside Shijian-21 with the international designator 2021-094C. The object is noted as a rocket body and more precisely an apogee kick motor (AKM), used in some launches for a satellite to circularize and lower the inclination of its transfer orbit and enter geostationary orbit.

Apogee kick motors usually perform a final maneuver after satellite separation so as to not pose a threat to active satellites through risk of collision. However both Shijian-21 and the SJ-21 AKM are side by side in geostationary orbit.

The close proximity of the two objects strongly suggests Chinese engineers plan to use the satellite in some manner to capture the AKM in order to de-orbit it.

While China is likely testing methods for capturing and removing space debris, using this AKM, it could also be testing military technologies, such the ability to snatch working satellites it does not own from orbit. The lack of transparency can only make everyone suspicious.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


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Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Mitch S.

    Yes, there are good reasons to doubt their intentions.

    Looks like E.S. Blofeld was Elon Musk before there was Elon Musk. But wait a minute, Blofeld was supposedly neutralized in 1971 and Musk was born in 1971…Hmm!

  • mpthompson

    As with pretty much any technology, there are potential dual uses. Perhaps the best way to try and bring such technology out for public scrutiny is for NASA and ESA to get out in front of this issue. Work together, with any willing space agency, to set international standards and set rewards for the private sector to create the technology to de-orbit defunct satellites and other debris. Setting a good example is probably the best thing that could be done to influence China in a better direction.

  • wayne

    “Communist Mitigation Launch Mission”

  • Tom Billings

    mpthompson wrote:

    “Perhaps the best way to try and bring such technology out for public scrutiny is for NASA and ESA to get out in front of this issue. ”


    Those are agencies with a strongly academic/scientific/political agenda. US Space Force currently supplies data, but they have other long-term tasks to pay attention to. However, the Commerce Department’s Office of Commercial Spaceflight is placed in exactly the focus of attention for these problems. It should be funded to pay close attention, through a specific section assigned to space debris and the technology designed to mitigate that.

    That section may grow into an enforcement arm/garbage detail that also picks up the garbage and drops it into the South Pacific, whenever there’s no longer an obvious commercial entity to get a threatening object out of heavily traveled space traffic orbits. That section may eventually grow into a “Space Guard” that interacts pre-emptively with other nations’ commercial and regulatory groups to make sure no one’s sats “bump” one another.

    NASA and ESA have other fish to fry.

  • Jeff Wright


    Space Force is underfunded. Grover Norquist can bite me.

    The USAF has a bloat that puts all but entitlements to shame. Carrier Groupies as well. The immense WWII/Cold War logistical base keeping model needs to die…the troops put on our boarders so they actually ARE defending Americans for the first time since the Revolutionary War.

  • PR

    So the country that drops rocket stages on populated areas and doesn’t even bother to send their heavy lift first stage into a controlled reentry to avoid the possibility of it hitting a major city is grievously concerned with space debris removal. Because, well, uh…. Yup, nothing suspicious here at all.

  • wayne

    Ref- Grover Norquist–yepper, he’s a rino, a mole, and a card-carrying progressive. Isn’t he up to his eye-balls with the muslim brotherhood?

    Good stuff.

    ref- the communists who control the gulag known as china.
    In the Alternate Universe, they’ve been turned into ash, and there were no survivors.


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