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Concern over China’s suspected weapon test

Concern over China’s suspected weapon test

Testing of an anti-satellite weapon threatens Washington’s dominance of space.

A variety of regional and extra-regional states have expressed concern about a suspected, although not publicly confirmed, anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) test by China on 11 January

The test most likely destroyed the Chinese, low Earth orbit (LEO) Feng Yun-1C (FY-1C) meteorological satellite with a kinetic impact missile. The FY-1C passed over central China on 11 January, making the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province the most probable launch site for the ASAT.

The utility of such anti-satellite measures to China is evident. An anti-ballistic missile system utilised by the US may rely on LEO satellites for early warning capabilities. Moreover, any military action in China's near abroad by the US or its allies would rely on US satellite information for surveillance and intelligence.

The test of an ASAT by Beijing is a concern to Washington's dominance of space and its future ability to utilise satellites at will for military usage. Nonetheless, Beijing's test does not demonstrate a 'weaponisation' of outer space that would breach the 1967 Outer Space Treaty to which both the US and China are party.

Source: Jane's Information Group - Published: January 19, 2007(



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