Chinese military researchers have published a study calling to develop capabilities which could disable Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites if they threaten national security. According to South China Morning Post, the study was published last month.
In it, the scientists have stressed on the need to develop a surveillance system with unprecedented scale and sensitivity to track and monitor every Starlink satellite, said the Post, which has seen the publication.
The study was led by Ren Yuanzhen, a researcher with the Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications. It calls for adopting “a combination of soft and hard kill methods”.
“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,” said the paper, published in domestic peer-reviewed journal Modern Defence Technology.
Chinese military researchers carried out this study because they estimate that a Starlink connection could increase the data transmission speed of American drones and stealth fighter jets by more than 100 times, the Post report further said.
Starlink is Mr Musk’s most ambitious projects ever. Under it, his company SpaceX plans to develop satellite internet network by launching small satellites in low-Earth orbit. These satellites will provide low-latency broadband internet services around the world, with a particular focus on remote areas that terrestrial internet infrastructure struggles to reach.
Starlink is composed of thousands of small satellites, and the Chinese plan is to destroy all of them. Since missiles will not prove cost-effective, the researchers have suggested using lasers, microwave technology, or even smaller satellites to defend China’s interests.
Earlier this month, Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, sent a threat to Mr Musk after Starlink technology was supplied to Ukraine to help military communication and warned him about possible repercussions.
Rogozin said on a Telegram channel that the starlink satellite was delivered by the Pentagon, adding that Musk is “thus complicit” and will be held accountable.