A satellite internet network, the Starlink constellation is in the sights of the Chinese, whom it accuses of having become a military communication tool.
Visible to the naked eye, the thousands of satellites of the Starlink constellation, sent into space by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, greatly annoy Chinese leaders.
Initially, Starlink aims to provide internet access worldwide, particularly in inaccessible areas. Eventually, 20,000 satellites should criss-cross the Earth’s orbit.
But since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Elon Musk has played a crucial role via Starlink. The constellation was made available to provide internet connections to Ukrainians.
According to the South China Morning Post, quoted by Futura Sciences, “Chinese scientists are currently working on methods of destroying Starlink satellites”.
Elon Musk’s company is indeed accused of helping the US military to greatly increase the speed of data transmission “especially for fighter planes and combat drones”.
China fears that Starlink could provide the same type of data in the event of a conflict in which it would be involved. Starlink could also eventually follow the hypersonic missiles used by Russia and China.
A competing constellation?
And to bring Starlink down, China considered several methods. Sending missiles was mentioned before being ruled out. But expensive, the method has its limits and its consequences on the space environment.
The options of laser beams or jamming or even hacking systems are more favored by the Chinese. But faced with the tens of thousands of satellites that will form the constellation, Chinese scientists have also proposed to imitate Elon Musk and launch a Chinese Starlink…
A few weeks ago, faced with Starlink’s involvement in the war in Ukraine, the head of the Russian space agency had already threatened Elon Musk. The latter also says he fears for his life since the beginning of the conflict.