China in Space: Civilian and Military Developments: Maxwell Paper No. 24

China in Space: Civilian and Military Developments: Maxwell Paper No. 24


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In October 1956, Mao Tse-tung ordered the start of China's space program. Four years later, on 5 November 1960, China launched its first rocket, becoming the fourth country, behind Germany, the United States, and the Soviet Union, to enter space. Today China routinely launches space satellites for Western companies, including US corporations, and is increasing its share of the global space launch market. But the Chinese also use the technology and assistance gained in foreign ventures for PRC military applications. And a principal organization in China's space effort, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, has been identified by the US State Department as engaging in missile technology proliferation activities. How does China's space effort fit into its overall development strategy? What is China doing in military space applications? These are the two principal questions addressed, in order, by Lt Col William R. Morris and Col David J. Thompson, both of whom traveled to the PRC in the spring of 2001. Lt Col Morris examines the relationship between China's evolving space effort and its national development goals. He shows how the Chinese have used their space launches both for fund raising and employment activities, and as a foreign policy tool: Beijing now has space-related technical and economic cooperation with over 70 countries. But the Chinese also use spin-offs and pirated technologies from space operations to enhance their imagery, signals, and communications intelligence. The author also speculates that the Chinese may be developing electronic pulse weapons and lazer dazzlers that could degrade an adversary's satellites. Col Thompson, in his concentrated focus on China's military space applications, examines PRC ground, space, counterspace, and space policy aspects. His principal findings: China has plans to construct a new launch site in the deep south; PRC telemetry, tracking and command capacities are improving; China has the ability to conduct limited intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from space; the PRC is pursuing a counterspace capability most likely using satellite jammers and anti-satellites (possibly parasitic or nano-satellites). Col Thompson concludes that while China's space program does not now constitute a global threat, the PRC is pursuing space capabilities that will increase its regional influence, and deny an adversary certain uses of space.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479364565
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 09/21/2012
Pages: 36
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.07(d)

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