US Threat Report Says China Aims to Weaponize Space

The intelligence community says that China has space-based weapons and lasers built to destroy satellites.
Fabienne Lang

The U.S. intelligence community's annual threat report highlighted the fact that it believes China is working towards weaponizing space, with a particular focus on targeting U.S. satellites. 

The report, which was published on April 9, goes into a lot of detail about different potential threats to the U.S., and there's a small space-related paragraph that mentions China's People's Liberation Army's (PLA) potential plans. 

As was outlined in the report, the U.S. intelligence community believes that "The PLA will continue to integrate space services—such as satellite reconnaissance and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT)—and satellite communications into its weapons and command-and-control systems to erode the US military’s information advantage."

It also specifies that the PLA has "counter space-weapons capabilities intended to target US and allied satellites." 

China allegedly has space-based anti-satellite weapons, as well as ground-based missiles and lasers built to destroy satellites or damage specific sensors for satellites, respectively. 

China and the space race

China certainly is part of the space race, as it's planning on having a space station operating in low-orbit Earth anytime between 2022 and 2024, per the report. The country also has lunar missions, with the hope of building a future lunar base station alongside Russia.

China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft, its first-ever probe to Mars, was in full motion in February this year, making it the sixth nation in the world to successfully send a probe to the Red Planet.

And on its side, the U.S. has its space "Guardians," who are part of the Space Force to protect the U.S. and its allies from up above, as well as from Earth. So if anything untoward happens with regards to space-based attacks, from China or elsewhere, the Guardians will be at the ready. 

That said, as it currently stands, the U.S. intelligence community's report is, as it states, a report. It's good to keep an eye on things, but for the time being no actual threats have been made.

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