2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test

2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test

The 2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test was conducted by China on January 11, 2007. A Chinese weather satellite — the FY-1C polar orbit satellite of the Fengyun series, at an altitude of convert|865|km|mi, with a mass of 750 kg [cite news | last=Nicholson | first=Brendon | title=World fury at satellite destruction | date=January 20, 2007 | publisher=The Age | url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/fury-at-space-destruction/2007/01/19/1169095981210.html] — was destroyed by a kinetic kill vehicle traveling with a speed of 8 km/s in the opposite direction [ [http://blogs.spectrum.ieee.org/tech_talk/2007/01/is_chinas_satellite_killer_a_t.html Is China's Satellite Killer a Threat? (Tech Talk) ] ] (see "Head-on engagement"). It was launched with a multistage solid-fuel missile from Xichang Satellite Launch Center or nearby.

"Aviation Week & Space Technology" magazine first reported the test. The report was confirmed on January 18, 2007 by a United States National Security Council (NSC) spokesman.BBC News (2007). [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6276543.stm Concern over China's missile test] . Retrieved January 20, 2007.] At first the Chinese government did not publicly confirm whether or not the test had occurred; but on January 23, 2007, the Chinese Foreign Ministry officially confirmed that a test had been conducted.cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6289519.stm |title=China admits satellite shot down |publisher=BBC News |date=2007-01-23 |accessdate=2007-01-23] China claims it formally notified the U.S., Japan and other countries about the test in advance. [cite news |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,,1996689,00.html|title=China confirms anti-satellite missile test|publisher=The Guardian|date=2007-01-23|accessdate=2007-01-23] It was the first known successful satellite intercept test since 1985, when the United States conducted a similar anti-satellite missile test using a ASM-135 ASAT to destroy the P78-1 satellite.

The New York Timescite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/23/washington/23satellite.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=asia&pagewanted=print&adxnnlx=1177412634-gIokCeqAhuEUTz6obSrvpQ|title= U.S. Knew of China’s Missile Test, but Kept Silent |publisher=New York Times|date=2007-04-23|accessdate=2007-04-24] , Washington Times [cite news |url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070124-121536-8225r.htm | title=Officials fear war in space by China|publisher=The Washington Times|date=2007-01-24|accessdate=2007-02-19| archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20070126091518/http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070124-121536-8225r.htm|archivedate=2007-01-26] and Jane's Intelligence Review [cite news |url=http://jir.janes.com/public/jir/chinawatch.shtml|title= Space to manoeuvre - Satellite attack upsets US space supremacy |publisher=Jane's Intelligence Review|date=2007-02-07|accessdate=2007-02-19 Or see archived version: [http://www.webcitation.org/5YmNOX588] ] reported that this came on the back of at least two previous failed attempts, on 7 July 2005 and 6 February 2006.

Consequences of the test

Several nations responded negatively to the test and highlighted the serious consequences of engaging in the militarisation of space. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao stated, "There's no need to feel threatened about this" and argued that "China will not participate in any kind of arms race in outer space."cite news |url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070119/ts_afp/chinaspacemilitaryfm | title= China says space programme is no threat | publisher=Agence France Presse | date=2007-01-19 | accessdate=2007-01-22] New York Times (2007). [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/20/world/asia/20china.html?ex=157680000&en=515b27578ee57de2&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink China Shows Assertiveness in Weapons Test] . Retrieved 21 January 2007.] Ironically, China had been long advocating to ban space weapons, which had been rejected by the Bush government. Some believe this test may have been meant as a way to bring the US to the negotiation table. Anti-satellite missile tests, especially ones involving kinetic kill vehicles as in this case, contribute to the formation of orbital space debris which can remain in orbit for many years and could interfere with future space activity.cite news |last=Covault |first=Craig |url=http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/aw012207p2.xml | title=China's Asat Test Will Intensify U.S.-Chinese Faceoff in Space | publisher=Aviation Week | date=2007-01-21 | accessdate=2007-01-21] The test is the largest recorded creation of space debris in history with at least 2317 pieces of trackable size (golf ball size and larger) [cite web| url=http://www.centerforspace.com/asat/| title=Chinese ASAT Test| accessdate=2007-04-18] , thereby increasing the total number of currently tracked objects in earth orbit by more than 22%.


The Chinese ASAT system has been named by the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Maples, in a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing as the SC-19 [cite web|url=http://www.senate.gov/~clinton/news/statements/details.cfm?id=269792|title= Senator Clinton Questions Vice Admiral John M. McConnell, USN (ret), Director of National Intelligence and Lieutenant General Michael Maples, USA, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Worldwide Threats|date=2007-02-27|accessdate=2007-04-24] .

The SC-19 have been described as being based on a modified DF-21 ballistic missile or its commercial derivative, the KT-2 with a Kinetic Kill Vehicle and is fully mobile.

The interception happened as head-to-head within a very high relative speed of 18k miles/hour. It's said this test has a very high accuracy and difficulty, which is equivalent to the USA national missile defense system. Lots of debris created at the hitting moment had an initial velocity even bigger than the meeting relative speed between the satellite and the missile. Due to the high altitude (>800 km), the missile was very likely multi-staged (according to some sources, it had 3) and based on powerful solid-fuel. [ [http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/01/inside-the-chin.html How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 1)] ]

Compared with the USA 193's bus-like size, the main body of Fengyun meteorological satellite only had a size similar to an incubator (except wings), which also illustrates the accuracy of the test.

International response

*flag|JapanPrime Minister Shinzo Abe said that nations "must use space peacefully."

*flag|RussiaDefence Minister Sergei Ivanov, stated that he considers reports on the Chinese anti-satellite missile test "exaggerated and abstract", reminding at the same time, that Russia always was against the militarisation of space. [cite news | title=Sergei Ivanov considers reports on the rocket launch by China, that destroyed a satellite, exaggerated| date=2007-01-20 | publisher=Voice of Russia|language=Russian| url=http://www.vor.ru/index.phtml?id=4452]

*flag|United Kingdom – A spokesman for former Prime Minister Tony Blair told reporters that British officials had raised the matter with China on Wednesday. "We are concerned about the impact of debris in space and we expressed that concern," he said. However he also said that "We don't believe that this does contravene international law". [cite news | author=Agence France-Presse| url=http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Britain_Concerned_By_Chinese_Satellite_Shoot_Down_999.html |title=Britain Concerned By Chinese Satellite Shoot-Down |publisher=Spacedaily.com|date=2007-01-19]

*flag|United StatesNational Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe, who confirmed that the test had occurred, stated that the United States "believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area." [cite news| first=David |last=Kestenbaum| url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6923805 | title=Chinese Missile Destroys Satellite in 500-Mile Orbit |publisher=National Public Radio |date=2007-01-19 ] .

Related treaties

The Outer Space Treaty banned weapons of mass destruction in orbit and outer space but does not ban conventional weaponry in orbit. It is ratified by 98 countries, including China, and signed by 27 others. [ [http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/SpaceLaw/outerspt.html Outer Space Treaty] . United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs]

The Space Preservation Treaty has been proposed to the United States House of Representatives by Congressman Dennis Kucinich four times, as of May 18 2005, to ban space weapons, however as of January 2007, no country has ratified it.

ee also

*Anti-satellite weapon
*Kill vehicle
*Militarisation of space
*Space debris
*Space weapon
*Space warfare
*Kessler Syndrome

*China's military expenditure
*USA 193


External links

*http://mit.edu/stgs/spaceprograms.html Links to test graphics and technical analysis
*http://orbitingfrog.com/blog/files/Fengyun1CDebris.kmz Google Earth layer tracking fragments of FY-1C

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