China’s military is set to conduct a strategic anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test sometime this month, according to a report reaching the United States from China.
Gregory Kulacki, a researcher at the Union of Concerned Scientists, stated in a blog postFriday that “contacts in China” revealed that an announcement on the upcoming ASAT test recently circulated inside China’s government.
Kulacki said he confirmed that U.S. defense officials also are concerned the Chinese will conduct a potentially destabilizing ground-ascent missile test.
The ground-launch ASAT missile could be targeted against a satellite test target in space whose destruction would cause a second large debris field in earth’s orbit in one scenario, as occurred following China’s unannounced January 2007 ASAT test against a weather satellite.
Tens of thousands of debris pieces from the weather satellite remain in orbit and have threatened to damage both manned and unmanned satellites in collisions during the high speeds of orbit in space.