February 13, 2013: This year China expects to launch 20 satellites and by the end of the decade have 200 satellites in orbit (about a fifth of the total and nearly half as many as the United States). At that point China expects to be launching 30 satellites a year and accounting for over a quarter of the worldwide launch capability. All this momentum has been the result of a quarter century of effort and an enormous spurt of activity in the last two years. In the two decades after 1990 China has carried out 30 commercial satellite launches, putting 36 satellites in orbit. Now China puts that many satellites up in 18 months.
China’s main satellite launcher, the “Long March” rocket, is based on Russian designs, meaning it is simple, cheap and reliable. This has made China a major player in the satellite launching business. China competes on price. The U.S. Space Shuttle was retired because it was the most expensive way get stuff into orbit. Satellites sent up via the Read more…
China may be gearing up to perform a controversial ASAT test this month: media report (Reuters)
Amid reports that China is gearing up to conduct one more anti-satellite weapons test (ASAT) putting US Global Positioning System (GPS) at risk, Chinese state media today asserted that Beijing had the right to carry out the test as it is a “trump card” against Washington.
China may be gearing up to perform a controversial ASAT test this month, perhaps in the next week or two, US media report said.
“In 2007 and 2010, China conducted anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons tests, both on January 11. Rumours circulating for the past few months suggest that some within the US defence and intelligence community believe China is preparing to conduct another ASAT test,” Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge-based body of scientists reported.
China’s previous tests caused concern in India too with assertions by the Indian defence officials that New Delhi also should acquire such a capability.
“Just before Christmas, a high-ranking US defence official told us that the Obama administration was very concerned about an imminent Chinese ASAT Read more…
USAF Satellite/ AP Images
China’s People’s Liberation Army is preparing to destroy U.S. computer and network infrastructure in future attacks and knock out satellites with microwave pulses, according to recently translated Chinese military writings.
A senior colonel in the General Staff Fourth Department—the cyber warfare and electronic spying section known as 4PLA—wrote in one article that Chinese electronic network attack plans call for a “system of systems” destruction plan.
U.S. cyber warfare combat capability “forms a great threat for our military in terms of carrying out joint campaigns and operations, and especially information operations,” wrote Col. Lin Shishan.
“In this regard, we must establish the information combat concept of ‘attack and destruction of Read more…
The wave of solar storms that has pounded Earth over the past several weeks is only likely to get worse over the next year, according to a NASA scientist.
Sunspot 1429, the active region of the sun responsible for the flares, has been getting larger over the past several weeks, making it less stable and more likely for additional flares to erupt, which can cause damage to GPS satellites and electronic systems on our planet. NASA reported that the sunspot is now more than seven times the width of earth.
“The larger [the active region] is, the more likely it’s going to produce another big flare,” Phillip Chamberlin, deputy project scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory says. “It’s growing, and it’s becoming more dynamic, building energy.”
Over the weekend, two large flares erupted from the region. NASA says the wind and energy particles associated with the flare, began to affect Earth Monday. The region is dangerous for Read more…
WASHINGTON (AP) — The largest solar flare in five years is racing toward Earth, threatening to unleash a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights.
The sun erupted Tuesday evening, and the effects should start smacking Earth around 7 a.m. EST Thursday, according to forecasters at the federal government’s Space Weather Prediction Center. They say the flare is growing as it speeds outward from the sun.
“It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He called it the sun’s version of “Super Read more…
The sun may cause local residents to experience television programming outages in the next couple of weeks, EPB and Comcast officials said.
“Twice a year, sun alignment causes brief programming outages to all cable and satellite providers,” Jim Weigert, vice president and general manager for Comcast Chattanooga, said. “This phenomenon is called a ‘sun outage,’ and it happens every early spring and again in fall. Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable occurrence that happens to all providers. The disturbance should be minimal, and it does not affect local broadcast stations.”
AT&T leaders couldn’t be reached Monday for comment.
EBP leaders notified customers through a crawling screen message on the Read more…
|Video still showing China’s Shenzhou 8 spacecraft docked with the Tiangong 1 lab module on Nov. 3, 2011.
CREDIT: China Central Television
The rise of China’s space program may pose a potentially serious military threat to the United States down the road, top American intelligence officials contend.
China continues to develop technology designed to destroy or disable satellites, which makes the United States and other nations with considerable on-orbit assets nervous. Even Beijing’s ambitious human spaceflight plans are cause for some concern, since most space-technology advances could have military applications, officials say.
“The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China’s growing ability to Read more…