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Chinese Military: World should be wary of the U.S. militarizing SpaceX’s Starlink satellite

The world should be careful of the United States possibly militarising SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet system, according to China’s official newspaper. According to the South China Morning Post, an essay published Thursday by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesperson advised the international world to be “on high alert” because the US Armed Forces may be able to control outer space through the Starlink satellite.

“The Starlink project has opted to expand from 12,000 to 42,000 satellites, demonstrating that it is broadly spread, versatile, and easily reconfigurable. The world community should be on high alert about Starlink’s plans to militarise it and its ruthless growth “Li Xiaoli wrote an essay on it. When finished, Starlink might allow the US military to “obtain situational awareness while keeping foes in the dark,” according to the story.

It will also give worldwide, round-the-clock reconnaissance and monitoring capabilities to Washington. Despite being designed for civilian usage, the Starlink system receives money and infrastructure support from the US military. The article warned that “it can provide large bandwidth and high-speed military communication services with global coverage, allowing the United States military to build a powerful command communication network covering uncrewed aircraft, strategic bombers, nuclear submarines, and other combat platforms.”

According to the paper, Starlink might create a second, independent internet, posing a danger to governments’ “cyberspace sovereignty.” A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched another large batch of Starlink internet satellites this week, bringing the total number of satellites to 2,400. According to Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist who constantly monitors spaceflight activities, more than 2,100 of those satellites are in orbit and operational as of Friday.

SpaceX’s satellite internet network delivers satellite Internet connection to 32 nations where it has been approved for usage.

Concerned about the United States’ dominance in space, China has founded GalaxySpace, a competitor to SpaceX. Beijing has also filed documents with the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) detailing its plans to build two LEO constellations totalling 12,992 satellites. It also voiced worries about Starlink after its Tiangong space station had two near-misses with Starlink satellites a few months ago.

Beijing accused the US of violating international treaty responsibilities and engaged in reckless and dangerous behaviour in space at the time. Elon Musk, the inventor of SpaceX, defended Starlinks, arguing that space is “simply tremendously big” and that the ship he is sending into it is “quite little,” implying that the issue is not as severe as it seems. Musk is said to have a tight contact with Chinese government officials.

Source: International Business Times

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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