The goal of China’s Beidou system is to compete with, or even replace, the GPS navigation system. China’s system currently uses 10 satellites, but Beijing plans to add another 25 by 2020 to provide global coverage.
China is the only country in the world that has been actively developing anti-satellite weapons and capabilities. In January 2007, the military conducted an anti-satellite missile test that destroyed China’s FY-1C polar orbit weather satellite at an altitude of 537 miles.
The anti-satellite test boosted the military’s confidence but contributed greatly to the militarization of space and the creation of the largest orbital space debris in recorded history.
• Miles Yu’s column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.