China could start building anti-SpaceX missiles to destroy Elon Musk’s Starlink

Military experts in China have advised Xi Jinping's military to build 'anti-satellite' capabilities capable of taking out Elon Musk's Starlink satellites, should they ever pose a threat to the country.

A paper published last month by military researchers in Beijing said China needs a surveillance system to keep track of every single Starlink satellite, of which there are thousands in orbit.

The study, led by Ren Yuanzhen, was academic and it isn't clear how much it represents official policy from the Chinese government or military.

The report said: "A combination of soft and hard kill methods should be adopted to make some Starlink satellites lose their functions and destroy the constellation's operating system."

Starlink is SpaceX's ambitious high-speed satellite internet programme which uses orbital 'constellations' of tiny satellites to deliver connectivity to remote areas.

SpaceX deployed thousands of Starlink terminals in Ukraine after Russia invaded in an attempt to keep the country online.

According to the Pentagon, Starlink was attacked by Russian hackers who tried to jam the network but that SpaceX engineers were able to prevent it.

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It's not only the Chinese and Russian governments who have a problem with Starlink. NASA has also complained about the project, as SpaceX is planning to send a total of 30,000 satellites into near-earth orbit over the next few years.

Writing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) telecommunications regulator in February, the space agency said: "NASA has concerns with the potential for a significant increase in the frequency of conjunction events and possible impacts to NASA’s science and human spaceflight missions."

The Starlink satellites also make it much more difficult for astronomers to view the night sky through a telescope, as they sometimes reflect light back to Earth from the Sun.

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