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Chinese Satellite Shijian 17 with Robotic arms, threat for other satellites – Free PDF Download


China can ‘grapple’ US satellites with robotic arm

General James Dickinson

  • United States Space Command (USSPACECOM or SPACECOM) is a unified combatant command of the United States Department of Defense, responsible for military operations in outer space, specifically all operations 100 kilometers (62 miles) above mean sea level.

US military leaders have claimed China has a satellite with a grappling arm, and said its existence highlights the needs for increased funding to match the Middle Kingdom and Russia’s expanding orbital arsenals.

  • Dickinson described China’s space services as robust, inclusive of high-tech radar imagery and intelligence data complemented by improved launch vehicles and global navigation. While individual technologies seem benign, collectively they can mask military activities, particularly as Beijing actively seeks space superiority.
  • Of specific concern is China’s ability to destroy other nations’ satellites.

  • One notable object is the Shijian-17, a Chinese satellite with a robotic arm. Space-based robotic arm technology could be used in a future system for grappling other satellites. China also has multiple ground-based laser systems of varying power levels that could blind or damage satellite systems.
  • China is developing a broad complement of jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based antisatellite missiles that can achieve a range of effects. China will attempt to hold US space assets at risk while using its own space capabilities to support its military objectives and overall national security goals.

  • Testimony at the hearing also claimed Russia is testing mobile ground-based missile, the “Nudol”, to destroy low earth orbit satellites. The Nudol joins satellite prototypes COSMOS 2504 and COSMOS 2536 and other ground-based low power lasers in Russia’s arsenal of possible antisatellite weapons.

  • Space debris(also known as space junkspace pollution, space wastespace trash, or space garbage) is defunct human-made objects in space—principally in Earth orbit—which no longer serve a useful function. These include derelict spacecraft—nonfunctional spacecraft and abandoned launch vehicle stages—mission-related debris, and particularly numerous in Earth orbit, fragmentation debris from the breakup of derelict rocket bodies and spacecraft.

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