China Blinding U.S. Satellites... Sept 25, 2006 21:19:48 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Sept 25, 2006 21:19:48 GMT -6
China Attempted To Blind U.S. Satellites With Laser
China has fired high-power lasers at U.S. spy satellites flying over its territory in what experts see as a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft, according to sources.
It remains unclear how many times the ground-based laser was tested against U.S. spacecraft or whether it was successful.
But the combination of China’s efforts and advances in Russian satellite jamming capabilities illustrate vulnerabilities to the U.S. space network are at the core of U.S. Air Force plans to develop new space architectures and highly classified systems, according to sources.
According to experts, lasers — depending on their power level — could blind electro-optical satellites like the giant Keyhole spacecraft or even interfere with radar satellites like the Lacrosse. Blinding, one source said, is different than disabling given the enormous power required to shoot a laser through the dense lower atmosphere and reach a fast-moving satellite in space. The hardware on the spacecraft can’t be changed given they’re in orbit, but software changes can help them weather disruptive attacks.
As for China specifically, Thompson said the country has a right to defend itself.
“If you keep looking over the fence at you neighbor’s back yard, you’re going to get poked in the eye, so it’s not surprising that China might be worried about U.S. forces stationed on their doorstep,” Thompson said. “They don’t like it and are figuring out how to poke us in the eye. Now I’m no great admirer of the Chinese leadership, but how would we feel if the Chinese had their aircraft carriers off Long Island. That’s why we have to do a better job of protecting ourselves and I’m afraid that’s not what we’re doing.”
With NASA on a Goodwill trip to China now, I wonder if Griffin will complain?