A new Chinese anti-satellite test?

Xichang Satellite Launch Center

Xichang Satellite Launch Centre

Five years ago, China conducted its first anti-satellite (ASAT) test – on January 11, 2007. Exactly three years later, China conducted a second ASAT test, which Beijing referred to as a missile defence test, on January 11, 2010.

And now, some days ago, China launched a large missile that reached 6,200 miles (10,000 km) above the earth, its highest suborbital launch since 1976, according to a US scientist at Harvard University.

A third ASAT test?

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said the rocket was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in western China, and China said the rocket carried a science payload which studied the earth’s magnetosphere.

He said the rocket could be used in the future to carry an anti-satellite payload on a similar trajectory, but there was no evidence to show the launch was intended to test such a capability.

The United States remains concerned about China’s development of anti-satellite capabilities after it shot a missile at one of its own defunct satellites in orbit in 2007, creating an enormous amount of debris in space.

The latest Chinese rocket launch was like launches using the Blue Scout Junior rocket that were conducted by the U.S. Air Force in the 1960’s for research on the Earth’s magnetosphere, McDowell said in an emailed response to questions.

The launch came less than a week after US Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter unveiled what he called a “long overdue” effort to safeguard US national security satellites and develop ways to counter the space capabilities of potential adversaries.

The Pentagon also released an 83-page report on Chinese military developments that highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities and said Beijing was pursuing a variety of activities for preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the Chinese rocket launch.

Adapted from: Economic Times – China missile hit highest suborbital level since 1976: Scientist 

Categories: Defence & Aerospace

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

4 replies


  1. China claims to be building space warfare force with combat capability | China Daily Mail
  2. China is busy launching satellites for space-air military capabilities | China Daily Mail
  3. China’s formidable rocket artillery; 10,000 nuclear warheads capable of destroying Russia and United States | China Daily Mail
  4. China expanding its GPS to cover entire world with top accuracy | China Daily Mail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: