Elon Musk’s Starlink project is ‘very scary’ in China, says space industry expert

As Americans try out the latest Starlink satellite dishes on their recreational vehicles, a space expert claims Elon Musk’s Starlink system is making the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ” nervous “because ISpaceX company specializing in satellite Internet is the ” only “ actor on the ground currently able to participate in the strategic space race between the United States and China.

“It’s important to understand that Elon Musk’s company SpaceX is the only thing keeping the United States in the space race against China”explains in an interview for Epoch TimesBrandon Weichert, space industry expert and author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower” [Gagner l’espace : comment les États‑Unis restent une superpuissance, ndt.]

According to the specialist, Starlink is “may have become an indispensable element for the war”. As a result, the group makes ” nervous “ US rivals, even though Musk is under double ” offensive “ of the White House and the military establishment.

Starlink, a constellation of satellites for the internet operated by SpaceX, Musk’s spacecraft company, today comprises more than 2,400 satellites orbiting the earth at an altitude more than 60 times lower than that of the satellites that carry most of the Internet around the world.

The CCP ” nervous “

The reason that US adversaries are concerned about Starlink, according to Mr. Weichert, is that this satellite system is resistant to the large-scale attacks that US adversaries are currently capable of and therefore makes the ” destruction “ of the American space infrastructure much more difficult than before.

“The Starlink program is an excellent private sector success story that perfectly illustrates how critical but vulnerable military satellite constellations can be protected. »

“Starlink’s strength is its spare capacity. So basically we saw last summer a solar flare that knocked out something like 20, maybe even 40, Starlink satellites. Musk didn’t even bat an eyelash. Within a day, these systems were replaced because they are small and cheap. »

As Mr. Weichert details in his book, Russia and China could previously prevent the US military from accessing communications networks by attacking US satellites, for example using electromagnetic pulse attacks.

“Both Russia and China are threatened by this capability because they know how the Americans could use it to their advantage.. And that’s why these two countries are livid right now. They are desperately trying to come up with countermeasures to maintain what they thought was to their advantage, with possibilities of controlling space, the ability to prevent the Americans from using space in the event of a conflict. »

According to the expert, a recent clue proves that the CCP feels threatened by Starlink: the CCP complained to the United Nations about the maneuvers that the Chinese space station Tiangong had to perform to avoid collisions with Starlink satellites in two separate incidents.

“China came in grumbling that one of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites had nearly collided with his new modular space station, which was of course exaggerated…but its reaction told us how much it fears it. new communications system. »

The United States refuted the CCP’s assertions in a note verbale in response. SpaceX released a statement acknowledging the encounters. The company says it monitors the flight path of its satellites to maintain a safe distance from Tiangong.

According to the expert, Starlink has impressive cyber defense capabilities, even for Pentagon defense specialists.

“The Pentagon’s electronic warfare specialist witnessed in real time the defense by SpaceX operators of the Starlink satellites’ on-board system against Russian cyberattacks, relentless cyberattacks”explains Mr. Weichert, referring to Dave Tremper, the director of electronic warfare at the Pentagon, who told Breaking Defense that SpaceX’s capabilities gave it ” gives me shivers “.

Therefore, if the Chinese military attempted a cyberattack on Starlink’s embedded operating systems, China “would experience a very rude awakening”believes Mr. Weichert.

The only player in the race for space

According to Brandon Weichert, SpaceX is now “the only thing keeping the United States in the space race against China”but it is forced to maneuver through the institutional forces of the United States.

“The problem is that our own government doesn’t seem to recognize or care that SpaceX is the only project that allows the United States to stay in the new space race and stay competitive. »

“NASA has fallen asleep on its laurels and Space Force does not know what it wants to do. »

“Meanwhile, American leaders, for the most part, do not view space as a strategic domain. China does. Musk does. »

According to Mr. Weichert, the reasons for this lack of mobilization are due to a glaring disagreement on political ideology between Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, and the White House.

SpaceX “is also under strong political pressure due to Elon Musk’s political positions, especially recently. Elon Musk is no friend of the Biden administration”recalls Mr. Weichert, adding that this disagreement has “placed a giant target” on Musk’s back.

Musk’s recent criticism of the Biden administration and the Democratic Party has sparked controversy in the political world. The billionaire hinted that Biden was not the ” true “ President of the United States and called the Democratic Party the party of the “divide” and some ” hate “.

“They started going after Musk. They’re going to go after him with a regulatory question about buying Twitter: not because of anything wrong, but simply because Musk is a political rival. »

“So the problem today is not China or Russia. »

The stagnation of the United States in the space race can also be explained, according to Mr. Weichert, by the existence of a military cartel which is “far from being as innovative as SpaceX”.

“Today you have a cartel of a handful of very powerful defense contractors who are not really looking to create defense systems that are both efficient, time-friendly, in terms of development, and less expensive than they are now. »

“So SpaceX is undermining this old defense industry cartel. This is why Musk is hated. This is why he is attacked by the bureaucracy, not to mention all the political aggression carried out by the Biden administration. »

Brandon Weichert suggests the US adopt SpaceX’s innovative model, which uses easily replaceable satellite arrays to make US space infrastructure more resilient to wartime attacks from space.

“Whether it’s SpaceX that gets the contract or another company, they have to replicate the SpaceX model. This is the key”he insists.

In his book “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower”Mr. Weichert warns the United States which must change the paradigm in its vision of space and consider space as a “strategic area” to avoid a “devastating surprise attack” launched by Russia or China in time of war, which would be according to its terms a “Pearl Harbor from Space”.

“The United States is like a heavy truck. When we get moving as a nation, we can’t stop. On the other hand, at the start, it is always more difficult for our country. »

“Today, the United States must prepare for a space Pearl Harbor – and everyone in Washington knows it. »

US Space Force officials did not respond at press time to a request for comment fromEpoch Times.

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