The head of US military space operations said Friday that the United States is closely monitoring Chinese activities that could threaten its space assets as debris rapidly accumulates in low Earth orbit.
General James Dickinson, head of Space Command, also celebrated the overwhelming majority’s approval of a UN resolution so that nations would not conduct anti-satellite direct ascent tests, which create vast fields of space debris that endanger satellites and stations. outer space.
Of the four countries that have conducted such tests, called ASATs, the United States was the only country to vote for them. China and Russia rejected the motion and India abstained from voting.
“We can’t keep contributing to the debris that we find in space,” Dickinson said on a conference call with reporters in Asia. Most of this debris is in low Earth orbit, which is now space. “, he added.
Even small shards of metal can pose a danger and the number of things in the area grows out of control. He said the US Space Force is tracking more than 48,000 objects in near-Earth orbit, including satellites, telescopes, space stations and pieces of garbage of all sizes, up from 25,000 just three years ago.
In 2003, China became the third government to independently put an astronaut into orbit, after the former Soviet Union and the United States. His program has advanced steadily since then.
China’s space program drew extraordinary international criticism after it conducted an unannounced test in 2007 in which it used a rocket to blow up one of its inactive satellites, creating still-hazardous debris.
Dickinson said Beijing believes “space is a very important part of not only its economy or the global economic arena, but also the military arena, so we continue to watch it closely as it continues to increase its capacity.”
China’s secret military program is run by the military wing of the ruling Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army, which precludes its participation in the International Space Station or most collaborative projects with NASA.
With a little foreign help, China last month launched the last of three modules from its orbital outpost, which briefly housed six Chinese astronauts during a regular three-person crew rotation. It also has lunar and Mars rovers and is planning a manned mission to the moon.
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