- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
U.S. satellites dodge Chinese missile debris
Two orbiting U.S. spacecraft were forced to change course to avoid being damaged by the thousands of pieces of space debris produced after China carried out an anti-satellite weapon test one year ago today.
The maneuvering, ordered by ground controllers and conducted several months after the test, is an example of lingering problems caused by China’s Jan. 11, 2007, missile firing in a bold demonstration of space weaponry against a weather satellite, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Ted Kresge, director of air, space and information operations at the Air Force Space Command in Colorado.
Gen. Kresge, a F-15 fighter pilot, said the Chinese ASAT weapon test changed the equation for the military, which is working to better understand strategic threats posed by China’s satellite-killing missiles, ground-based lasers, cyberwarfare and other ground station attack capabilities.
The Space Command is conducting a series of reviews to better identify threats and develop defenses for U.S. and allied military and commercial satellites against future attack.
“We have embraced the notion that we now operate in a contested domain,” the one-star general said.
However, other defense officials said the test set off a debate within the Bush administration over how to respond. Officials who seek to minimize China’s arms development within the U.S. intelligence and policy communities are said to be playing down the seriousness of the ASAT weapon test, arguing in interagency meetings that it was a one-time event that poses no strategic threat.
Military officials, including Gen. Kresge and Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, see Chinese anti-satellite weapons as new threats that could cripple the U.S. militarily and economically in a future conflict. They said the U.S. needs to step up spying efforts to learn more about the secret Chinese weapons program and develop defenses against it.
Chinese military writings have revealed that space weapons should be built in secret and used for “shock and awe” attacks against U.S. satellites, said defense analyst Michael Pillsbury who revealed the plans in a report to a congressional commission.
Gen. Cartwright testified before a Senate subcommittee last year that conventionally armed Trident missiles are needed to pre-empt space attacks through strikes on ASAT missile launchers in China.
But, Congress restricted funding for the program in the latest defense spending bill, and Pentagon civilians did not fight to keep the conventional Trident program going.
The White House opposed the curbs on the Trident conversion that are part of what the Pentagon calls “prompt global strike” weapons. The restrictions “limit the ability to field a near-term capability to strike globally, precisely, and rapidly with non-nuclear kinetic effects against high-priority, time-sensitive targets,” the statement said.
The Chinese anti-satellite test used a ground-based mobile “direct ascent” missile that destroyed the orbiting Feng Yun-1C weather satellite by ramming into it.
By some estimates, China could produce enough space weapons to knock out all low-Earth orbit U.S. satellites by 2010.
China tried to carry out the test in secret but it was detected by U.S. intelligence agencies days before the launch. The Bush administration rejected State Department appeals to try and head off the test, fearing it would disclose U.S. spying capabilities. Instead, the administration organized a formal diplomatic protest to Beijing, that was joined by several other nations, including Britain, Japan and India.
China’s government, which advocates a United Nations ban on space weapons, confirmed the test several weeks later, but Chinese officials have refused to reveal details of the arms program.
By Tom Fitton
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow