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Chinese expert calls for China to find ways to destroy Starlink constellation

A Chinese communications expert at its Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications has written a paper calling for China’s military to develop ways in which it can to destroy SpaceX’s Starlink constellation.

According to the South China Morning Post, lead author Ren Yuanzhen and colleagues advocated in Modern Defence Technology not only for China to develop anti-satellite capabilities, but also to have a surveillance system that could monitor and track all satellites in Starlink’s constellation.

“A combination of soft and hard kill methods should be adopted to make some Starlink satellites lose their functions and destroy the constellation’s operating system,” the Chinese boffins reportedly said, estimating that data transmission speeds of stealth fighter jets and US military drones could increase by a factor of 100 through a Musk machine connection.

I am sure China (as well as every other superpower — including the U.S. military) is already working on developing methods for either jamming or destroying Starlink. Doing either however is difficult because of the constellation’s nature: many small satellites all of which provide redundancy and are easily replaced. Even more depressing for these power-hungry government entities is the fact that Starlink is not the only constellation now in orbit, with many others soon to follow.

For example, consider the contracts that the NRO announced today with three different surveillance satellite companies, all of which have their own constellations. Getting rid of one is hard. All three is likely impossible.

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  • Steve Richter

    Do all satellites orbit the Earth in the same direction? And the altitude of a piece of junk or working satellite will stay the same. And everything orbiting at the same altitude will have the same speed, correct? Otherwise the object would move to a higher ( faster ) or lower ( slower ) altitude?

    Just thinking that the junk that results from a satellite attack might not end up careening around in orbit, randomly striking other satellites. Is that wrong?

  • V-Man

    If you don’t mind starting a Kessler syndrome scenario, you could launch a Long March 5 filled with sand in a counter-orbital trajectory. Or two. Pretty sure that a few hours later, nothing usable would remain in orbit.

    Granted, that’s an open declaration of war to the rest of the human race, and condemning all astronauts (including the Chinese ones) to death, but…

  • Alton

    Almost all ?️ satellites have been launched toward the east to get the additional payload boost of the Earth’s rotation added.

    Except for Israel which normally launches to the west over the Mediterranean Sea such that the possible crash of the payload and launcher does not fall on an Islamic country (the added effect of not looking like a nuclear topped Missile on an attack mission).

    If a satellite is hit to kill or takes an explosive warhead near to it the Sphere of debris has many orbital speeds thus moves to many different orbits from reentry to even being boosted to higher altitudes.
    A mess which slowly expands.

  • Alton

    OfCourse Polar Orbiting birds are launched in a Southern direction to achieve that type of orbits.

  • David Eastman

    Steve Richter asks: “Do all satellites orbit the Earth in the same direction?”

    Nope, not even close. A lot of satellites are broadly speaking going eastward, with the rotation of the Earth. There are some that are going west, and large number that are in polar orbits going North/South. But even among those categories, there are still huge variances. A satellite launched due east from Cape Canaveral will have a 28.5 degree inclination. Launched due east from Baikonur, they will be in a 45.9 degree inclination. Satellites launched due south from Vandenberg would be in a 180 degree inclination (or -90 depending on how you define it), but even then, that’s not one track with all the satellites in a bead, depending on when a given satellite is launched compared to the track of an earlier one, they could be crossing at up to 180 degree opposition at the poles.

    On velocity, everything in a *circular* orbit at the same altitude has the same velocity. Circular orbits are actually fairly uncommon. So you can have two satellites that both pass through a given altitude, but are on very different orbits with different velocities when they do so.

    And the orbit, position, and velocity of a satellite or piece of junk isn’t a constant, either. The earth is not a perfect sphere with it’s center of mass at the middle, and of course there is the moon running around pulling things out, in, ahead, back, etc dereddening on where it is. Then there’s the atmosphere, which never really ends, it just gets thinner and thinner. But solar activity is variable, and as more energy from the sun hits the atmosphere, the thicker part moves up higher, and you get more drag than when the sun is being quiet. Even for geostationary satellites, which are, as the name implies, supposed to be stationary, all this adds up and they deviate from their orbit, and have to use thrusters to keep them where they belong, and when they run out of fuel, start to drift.

    The closer to Earth the lowest part of the orbit is, the more all of this matters. Most of the Starlink satellites for example are in the 300-700 mile range, and as a consequence are facing a lot of perturbation and decay, and each orbit is just a tiny bit lower and slower until a few years later they finally get too low and re-enter.

    Going by memory, when the low part of the orbit is above about 800 miles is when decay becomes more or less irrelevant and you can assume it will be up there indefinitely, but even so the orbit is going to vary over time as the lunar tides and the oblateness of the Earth drag it around.

  • wayne

    Comrade Yuanzhen-

    When the decision is made to wipe your lousy commie gulag country off the face of the earth, I hope they let me push the button and kill you all.

    Thermonuclear Strike

  • Concerned

    V-man: that won’t work, at least not within a short time. The Kessler scenario is real, but it can’t happen that fast. It’s a big sky out there, it would take 1000s of Chicom rocket launches to speed up the process much.

  • Steve Richter

    Thanks David. I can see that the Moon would affect orbits.

    Would it help if each orbital direction was assigned to a different altitude? Would that avoid collisions?

    this article says there have been two collisions going back to 2009

  • Jeff Wright

    I might try very large assets far out-and lase-snipe at starlink off even cheaper mirror sats. Cis lunar space is the high ground. We are sniper targets on a merry go round.

  • Realist

    Can be a scenarios of Kessler_syndrome used as a weapon in order to destroy or take out sat constellations as Starlink?

    “The Kessler syndrome (also called the Kessler effect, collisional cascading, or ablation cascade), proposed by NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978, is a scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) due to space pollution is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade in which each collision generates space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions. …”

  • … the Sphere of debris has many orbital speeds thus moves to many different orbits from reentry to even being boosted to higher altitudes.

    The large bulk of such “higher” orbits (driven thence by an explosion in LEO) would impact the earth on its lower (perigee) leg.

  • Cotour

    China IMO is more susceptible to certain instabilities in the world that America is and can be in direct command of to where the consequences of such actions such as the taking out of a satellite system would have great consequences. 13 min.

    In many ways China which is an authoritarian perverted amalgamation between Communism and Capitalism is much like the fraudulent Democrat party in America, a fraudulent facade.

    This pathetic perversion is the result of an authoritarian command driven economy as opposed to a market driven economy.

    A Chinese realestae market “Worth” 60 trillion dollars, and the vast majority of it is comprised of massive empty cities, with NO PLUMBING!

    What a bunch of crap.

  • Cotour

    And I will throw this into the mix here: 8 min.

    (And as you may or may not know, I do not like using Fox video in anything that I comment on, but the truth is what it is)

    And all of this all plays into further empowering the fraudulent Communist Chinese and their world domination agenda. Period.

    And this is the accomplishment of the Globalist owned, “Woke”, oh so “Politically correct” and pandering, very, very existentially desperate Democrat party machine. Just more crap.

  • Realist

    Intel Slava:

    “After the Nationalists fled their positions during an attack by the Russian Armed Forces, the bodies of the servicemen with their hands tied and gunshot wounds in the back of their heads were found at their location. According to information received, the soldiers had planned to surrender, but had been executed by their fellow Nationalist battalion members.”

  • pzatchok

    It is estimated that by 2045 China will have reduced its population to the size of the estimated American population.
    The one child policy worked great then you just have to add in the changing social pressure to not have children among the young and you can see it happening.

    Years before that Chinas economy will have fallen below that of the US,

    Around that time their own internal infrastructure will start to fall apart from the lack of good maintenance. Way to big for the economy to keep up with.

    Just like the cold war with the Soviet union we just have to let them fail in their own time.

    Capitalism works every time its tried.

  • Cotour

    But isn’t he one of your World Economic Forum junior future leaders of world, George?

    I clearly remember your co Bond villain counterpart, Klause Schwab bragging about just that not so long ago.

    Now you want to put a hit on him because he is screwing with YOUR world domination plans?

    How superior, how naive.

  • Cotour

    And then there will be president XI, what will you do with him when he makes his move on Taiwan? Another call for a hit? He must be taken out!?

    Then what George?

    No American dominance and leadership in the world and there is no Global governance or any hope of anything like it as you, Klaus and the likes of John Kerry are so fond of imagining. The thing that you all despise, American dominance based in the Constitution, as corrupt and perverted as it is and can be, is still the best hope for the world and better than anything you can imagine to install in the world.

    Like most Liberal / Leftist / “Progressives” your plans are half baked and solely based in YOUR “superior” ideology.

    Remove America from its roll in world leadership and domination and there will be chaos and death.

    Great money manager and market maker and reader of the market, but you think that you and your kind are the ones that are to fashion and design the future? That IMO is the road to hell, desperation and exactly what we see on going in Ukraine, an opportunistic war.

    Why was the move made on Ukraine by Putin, your acolyte?

    Because you have through your concerted political efforts have made America weak!

    You should all be arrested on a multitude of charges.

  • sippin_bourbon


    Only one major problem with your prediction.
    Unlike the USSR, we help fund their economy.
    As long as we continue to export our labor and manufacturing to China, they will not fail. Without the trillions of dollars we give them, they would have failed by now.

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