Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why China's Missile Test Is Troubling

  • destroyed an aging weather satellite orbiting 500 miles above the earth

  • left a several-hundred- meter-wide cloud of scrap metal floating around in space. Some of the debris could pose a threat to spacecraft passing through the region, scientists say, and will remain a problem for hundreds of years to come.
  • "It shows that the Peoples Liberation Army has considerable leeway — a great deal of influence if not autonomy
  • major step forward in China's ability to nullify the huge technological advantage of the U.S. in any clash over Taiwan.

  • Now, the Chinese have mastered the tomato can. And by doing so at a distance from Earth greater than the one at which most critical U.S. satellites orbit
  • Beijing has demonstrated a capability, however limited, of punching out Washington's technological eyes.
  • it was reported last September that China had "painted" a U.S. satellite using a ground-based laser.

  • could use them to blind key U.S. spy satellites as the first punch in a massive war.
  • only one of a series of steps China is taking aimed at leveling out the playing field in case of a clash with the U.S.
  • Other examples include the training of units designed to hack into military computers
  • the development of massive shore-to-ship missile batteries that would make it very difficult for U.S. carrier groups to approach China's coast.
  • in recent joint exercises held with the Indian Air Force, less technologically advanced Russian Sukhoi jets defeated American F-15s when the latter were deprived of support from satellite and AWACs systems.
  • The satellite was orbiting 500 miles above the earth, the same approximate orbit as US spy satellites

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