US and Japan arm satellites against China attack: Businessweek.

WTCThe United States and Japan are in the early stages of integrating theirspace programs to prevent China from stalking their satellites, accordingto a Bloomberg Businessweek article.

The Chinese were probably testing a mobile rocket booster for anantisatellite weapon last May under the name of science space mission,said Brian Weeden, a retired US Air Force officer. As Weeden described,the weapon could reach targets in geostationary orbit about 22,236 milesabove the equator.

The range is the stomping grounds of expensive US spacecraft that monitorbattlefield movements, detect heat from the early stages of missile launches,and help orchestrate drone fleets, making any activity there worrisome toWashington. China has launched at least six antisatellite missile testssince the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007.American and Japanese analysts say China has the most aggressivesatellite attack program in the world.

In addition, Lance Gatling, president of Nexial Research, an aerospaceconsultant in Tokyo, said that China has studied ground-based lasers thatcould take down a satellite’s solar panels and satellites equipped withgrappling arms that could co-orbit and then disable expensive US hardware.Bremner added that the United States is most vulnerable to a Chinese laserattack since 43% of all satellites in orbit belong to the Pentagon orAmerican companies,

China is also dispatching a fleet of smaller, mobile satellites such as theGF-1 that would be harder for adversaries to find and destroy. Their primarymission is to locate and follow US satellites in orbit before the People’sLiberation Army launches the attack against them. Lockheed Martin won a US$914million contract from the United States Air Force on June to build a ground-based radar system that will track objects as small as a baseball, whichcould help identify a satellite attack as it is happening.