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China's space activities raising US satellite security concerns

Published on Jan 14, 2013 2:18 PM
China launched a Turkish earth observation satellite into orbit aboard a Chinese rocket on Dec 19. The launch was conducted in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gobi Desert and the satellite was delivered into its pre-determined  orbit by a Long March 2D rocket. The satellite will mainly be used for environmental protection, mineral resource exploration, urban planning and disaster monitoring and management, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. China views satellite launches as part of its ambitious space programme. But the United States is concerned about China's expanding space ability, fearing that it coulddisrupt the most sensitive US military and intelligence satellites. --  PHOTO:CNS  .

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States is concerned about China's expanding ability to disrupt the most sensitive US military and intelligence satellites, as Beijing pursues its expanded ambitions in space, according to many sources in the US government and outside space experts.

A classified US intelligence assessment completed late last year analysed China's increasing activities in space and mapped out the growing vulnerability of US satellites that provide secure military communications, warn about enemy missile launches and provide precise targeting coordinates, said the sources, who were not authorised to speak publicly.

"It was a very credible and sobering assessment that is now provoking a lot of activities in different quarters," said one former government official who is familiar with US national security satellite programnmes.

The intelligence report raised red flags about Beijing's ability to disrupt satellites in higher orbits, which could put the most sensitive US spacecraft at risk, according to the sources.

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