In the event that Elon Musk uses SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to “threaten” national security, Chinese military experts have encouraged their government to devise a method that may “disable or destroy” the satellites in question, The Daily Star reports.
According to a report that was written by military researchers in Beijing and released one month ago, China requires a surveillance system in order to monitor each and every one of Elon’s Starlink satellites, of which there are hundreds now in space.
The research was conducted by academics under the direction of Ren Yuanzhen, and it is unclear to what extent the findings reflect official policy adopted by the Chinese military or government.
Starlink is an ambitious high-speed satellite internet initiative that is being developed by SpaceX. The program will use orbital “constellations” of small satellites in order to provide internet connection to locations that are currently without it.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, SpaceX just deployed thousands of Starlink terminals in an effort to keep the country connected to the internet.
It is unclear what China considers to be a threat to national security, but one can reasonably deduce that it could have something to do with their citizenry having access to a censorship free internet, considering the country is highly censored to be in favor of the communist party.
There are a few other governments besides those of China and Russia who are concerned about Starlink. NASA has also voiced their disapproval of the project due to SpaceX’s intention to launch a total of 30,000 satellites into a low-Earth orbit over the course of the next several years.
In a letter that was sent in February to the telecoms regulator known as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the space agency stated: “NASA has concerns with the potential for a significant increase in the frequency of conjunction events and possible impacts to NASA’s science and human spaceflight missions.”
Because Starlink satellites often reflect light back to Earth from the Sun, it is much more challenging for astronomers to observe the night sky using a telescope, and it may also interfere with Nasa launches. These are a few of the reasons why the concern is partially warranted, but some may argue that the benefits of having internet access for all, outweigh any potential drawbacks.
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