US Space Force: China’s pace of development of space systems is worrying

“The biggest challenge for China in the space domain is the high pace at which the country develops its systems,” he said on Wednesday, November 3. (during the second day of the Global MilSatCom ’21 conference) General Bradley Chance Saltzman of the United States Space Force. This was the way of, inter alia, to the PAP question asked during the visit of this American general to London, concerning the cyclical event devoted to international cooperation in the field of satellite technologies.

Saltzman stated, inter alia, that although the US is by far the most developed country in terms of space capabilities and the number of satellites in orbit, it is also particularly vulnerable to the effects of a conflict in space. “This makes us a natural target for our rivals. They see that if they take these abilities away from us, they can cancel out our strategic advantage,” he admitted.

As he added in this context, the development of Chinese technologies in the area of ​​anti-satellite weapons is particularly worrying. “There is a really broad set of anti-space capabilities and a wide range of technologies here. It is worrying how quickly they move from concept completion to full capability,” said a senior US Space Force representative. “The challenge ahead is to keep pace on this subject,” he added.

Image: SMi Group / Global MilSatCom []

Saltzman added that a key task for the US and its allies was to build military-resistant satellite systems. “The idea is to discourage rivals from extending a possible conflict to space, to make it unfavorable” – said the military. He judged that cooperation and information exchange with allies inside and outside NATO would be important in this regard.

The American general stated that if any armed conflict touches outer space, it will have serious negative consequences for almost the entire world, which relies heavily on satellite technologies. He also judged that it would be a good idea to create a “hot line” between the space commands of the US and China or Russia so as to avoid misunderstandings and unintended conflicts.

“When I served in the air force, we had a hotline with the Russians to avoid communication mistakes in Syria,” he recalled. “I see no reason why we should not adopt a similar approach in the space domain. Especially since we have to rely on radars and telescopes for it, we do not have a direct view of what is happening,” said General Saltzman.

Source: PAP / Global MilSatCom 2021