Tag: China

America’s ‘Star Wars’ Against China

Article by Tom Fowdy                                 November 25, 2020                                  (news.cgtn.com)

• The Trump administration has announced that it is adding an additional 89 Chinese aerospace companies to the list of those prohibited from acquiring US-made components and technologies without approval, linking them to a “national security threat.” The obvious goal is protectionism – to stifle China’s own development in the aerospace sector, forcing China to rely on US firms such as Boeing.

• The Trump administration has made the decision that China represents a competitor in space exploration and technology, and that Beijing wants to militarize outer space. As China sends its Chang’e-5 lunar module to the Moon, Trump is trying to undermine China’s entire aerospace industry to gain the upper hand.

• In 2018, Trump created Space Force “to protect US and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force” including satellite-orientated warfare and missile technology. Is this not the militarization of outer space contravening the 1967 Outer Space Treaty? The United States wants to gain unchallenged military hegemony over the entire world and sees China as a “competitor.”

• The US defense community claims that it is Beijing that is militarizing space as it works on its own satellite and exploration programs. As an article from Defense News claims, “China wants to dominate space, and the US must take countermeasures.” Beijing, however, claims to uphold the consensus that space is for peaceful development only.

• In December 2019, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang condemned the US Space Force, stating, “The relevant US actions are a serious violation of the international consensus on the peaceful use of outer space, undermine global strategic balance and stability, and pose a direct threat to outer space peace and security.”

• The “China threat” narrative is about maintaining US strategic supremacy as the only major player in outer space. This view predates Trump, with the Obama administration banning coordination of China’s national space agency with NASA in 2011, and excluding China from participating in the international space station.

• More attention should be focused on America’s emerging “Star Wars” against China. Space Force is a new strategic frontier for American militarization, aimed at competitor states such as China, in contravention of international law. The development of outer space exploration and technology ought only to be for peaceful purposes for “the common heritage of mankind.”

[Editor’s Note]   Can the Chinese Communist Party be trusted to be peaceful? The CCP has come under the control of the Deep State and President Trump knows this. As the white hat Alliance is in the process of dismantling the Deep State – in America, in China, and everywhere else in the world – the Deep State would like nothing better than to trigger a global war in order to maintain its long-standing global domination. The Deep State-controlled CCP is desperate as the Chinese people, and even President Xi Jinping himself, see the Chinese government’s corruption and are turning against the established Communist Party. So as things come to a head now in this five-dimensional chess game, Trump and the US military may have a very good reason to keep the pressure on Beijing.

 

A few days ago the news was announced that the Trump administration was preparing to add an additional 89 Chinese companies to the commerce department’s entity list, prohibiting them from acquiring U.S.-made components and technologies without approval and claiming they are linked to the military and represent a “national security threat.” The firms were noticeably all in the aerospace industry, with an obvious goal of attempting to stifle China’s own development in this sector and force Beijing to be reliant on U.S. firms such as Boeing. Given the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) (a firm being listed) is launching its own domestically made alternative to the 737, the C919, next year, it is difficult to see the move in any other light. It’s obvious protectionism.

But there is another angle, a strategic one too, of outer space. The Trump administration has long made a decision that China represents a competitor in space exploration and technology, and claimed falsely that Beijing seeks to militarize the cosmos as a pretext for their own militarization plans, contravening the 1967 Outer Space Treaty which pledges that space and “celestial bodies” may only be used for “peaceful development” and not military means.

In doing so, the administration has over the past few years put in place plans to transform space into the newest “strategic frontier” and now, as China launches Chang’e-5, seeks to undermine China’s entire aerospace industry to gain the upper hand. As a result, this is a sphere worth watching.
The U.S. “Space Force”.

In 2018, Trump announced the creation of a “U.S. space force” or “space command.” Although the idea was ridiculed for sounding like something out of a science fiction novel, it is, in fact, something serious. The strategic objectives of such a command is, as is stated on its website, “to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.” That is the militarization of outer space. This includes things such as satellite-orientated warfare and missile technology. The United States wants to gain the upper hand in this sphere in order to maintain unchallenged military hegemony over the entire world and with that viewpoint comes the designation of China as a “competitor.”

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Air Force Secretary Barrett Calls for Clean-Up of Space Debris

Article by Frank Wolfe                                 November 16, 2020                                   (defensedaily.com)

• On November 16th, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett called on industry to help the US Space Force with cleaning up space debris to help avoid collisions in space. Barrett told the ASCEND 2020 forum sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “What we’d like to see in the future is not just tracking, but cleaning up that litter–figuring ways how do you consolidate, how do you get that hazard–17,500 miles per hour rocketing through space, it is a great hazard.”

• “Just think about the GPS system alone,” Barrett said. “Consider how much we depend upon the GPS system. It’s free and accessible to everyone globally, and it’s operated by just eight to 10 people on a shift. So a total of 40 people operate this extraordinary system upon which so much of our current economy depends. It’s broadly used. It’s transformative, but it’s fragile. So that space debris is really a danger to things like our GPS systems. We’ve got to replace those. We’ve got to minimize their vulnerability, and we have to have, as the Space Force will do, space capabilities that will deter others from doing damage to that system upon which so much depends.”

• According to NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office (ODPO), there are 23,000 large pieces of debris greater than 10 cm tracked by the Space Force’s US Space Surveillance Network. Prior to 2007, the principal source of debris was from explosions of launch vehicle upper stages and spacecraft. But the intentional destruction of a weather satellite by China in 2007 and the accidental collision of the American communications satellite with a retired Russian spacecraft in 2009 greatly increased the number of large debris in orbit and now represent one-third of all cataloged orbital debris.

• US Space Command’s 18th Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, California monitors 3,200 active satellites for close approaches with approximately 24,000 pieces of space debris, and issues an average of 15 high-interest warnings for active near-Earth satellites, and ten high-interest warnings for active deep-space satellites, every day.

• NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently suggested that nations that damage satellites are risking a legal challenge under the 1972 Liability Convention to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. In the only claim under the Liability Convention, the Soviet Union paid Canada $2 million after a Soviet nuclear-powered reconnaissance satellite crashed in western Canada in 1978, scattering radioactive debris.

• The US Space Force and the UK are working together to reduce orbiting space debris. Last year, the UK became the first nation to join the US-led Operation Olympic Defender to deter “hostile” space actors, such as China, Russia, and Iran, and decrease the spread of on-orbit space debris. The White House has noted that private companies are developing ‘on-orbit robotic operations’ for active space debris removal. Last March, Space Force chief General John ‘Jay’ Raymond announced that Lockheed Martin‘s ‘Space Fence radar system’ had achieved initial operational capability track smaller objects in low Earth orbit and in Geostationary orbit.

 

          Barbara Barrett

Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett on Nov. 16 called on industry to help the Air Force and U.S. Space Force with cleaning up space debris to help avoid collisions in space.

“For a long time, the United States Air Force has been tracking space debris, but there’s a lot more to be done,”

      progression of orbiting space debris

Barrett told the ASCEND 2020 forum sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). “What we’d like to see in the future is not just tracking, but cleaning up that litter–figuring ways how do you consolidate, how do you get that hazard–17,500 miles per hour rocketing through space, it is a great hazard.”

“Just think about the GPS system alone,” she said. “Consider how much we depend upon the GPS system. It’ s free and accessible to everyone globally, and it’s operated by just eight to 10 people on a shift. So a total of 40 people operate this

         Gen. John “Jay” Raymond

extraordinary system upon which so much of our current economy depends. It’s broadly used. It’s transformative, but it’s fragile. So that space debris is really a danger to things like our GPS systems. We’ve got to replace those. We’ve got to minimize their vulnerability, and we have to have, as the Space Force

                     Jim Bridenstine

will do, space capabilities that will deter others from doing damage to that system upon which so much depends.”

Barrett said that processes and doctrines to outline rules of the road in space and aid space traffic management are underway.
According to NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office (ODPO), there are 23,000 large pieces of debris greater than 10 cm tracked by the Space Force’s U.S. Space Surveillance Network.

“Prior to 2007, the principal source of debris was from explosions of launch vehicle upper stages and spacecraft,” per ODPO. “The intentional destruction of the Fengyun-1C weather satellite by China in 2007 and the accidental collision of the American communications satellite, Iridium-33, and the retired Russian spacecraft, Cosmos-2251, in 2009 greatly increased the number of large debris in orbit and now represent one-third of all cataloged orbital debris.”

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China’s Chang’e 5 Mission to Collect First Moon Samples Since 1976

Article by Mike Wall                                         November 23, 2020                                       (space.com)

• On November 23rd, China’s robotic Chang’e 5 mission launched to land on the Moon and retrieve lunar rocks, and bring them back to Earth in mid-December. The last time Moon rocks were brought back to Earth was the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976. Chinese officials have been characteristically vague about the details.

• The Chang’e 5’s will arrive in lunar orbit around November 28th, then send two of its four modules — a lander and an ascent vehicle — to the lunar surface a day or so later. The landing target is the Mons Rumker area of the Oceanus Procellarum (“Ocean of Storms”) volcanic plain. This area has been extensively explored by a number of other missions, including NASA’s Apollo 12 in 1969.

• Over the course of two weeks, the stationary lander will use cameras, ground-penetrating radar, and a spectrometer to study the area. It will collect about 4.4 lbs of lunar material, some of which will be dug from up to 6.5 feet underground. The timeline is tight given that it needs to accomplish its objectives before the sun light turns to shadow in two weeks, as the lander is solar powered.

• The rocks at Mons Rumker were formed 1.2 billion years ago. The 842 lbs of Moon rocks brought home by the Apollo astronauts between 1969 and 1972 are considerably older, providing a window in the deeper lunar past. Chang’e 5 “will help scientists understand what was happening in the more recent past of the Moon’s history.

• The Chang’e 5 lander will transfer its rock samples to the ascent vehicle, which will launch them to lunar orbit for a meetup with the other two mission elements, a service module and an attached Earth-return capsule. Loaded into the return capsule, the rocks will be brought back to Earth by December 16th or 17th. Rather than relying on strong heat shielding to blast through the atmosphere on re-entry, as the Apollo capsules did, Chang’e 5 will perform a ‘skip reentry,’ bouncing off the atmosphere once to slow down before plummeting to a landing in Inner Mongolia.

• Chang’e 5 is the sixth mission in the Chang’e program of robotic lunar exploration, which is named after a moon goddess in Chinese mythology. China launched the Chang’e 1 and Chang’e 2 orbiters in 2007 and 2010, respectively, and the Chang’e 3 lander-rover duo touched down on the Moon’s near side in December 2013. The Chang’e 5T1 mission launched a prototype return capsule traveling around the Moon in October 2014, to help prepare for Chang’e 5. And in January 2019, Chang’e 4 became the first mission ever to ace a soft landing on the Moon’s far side. Chang’e 4’s lander and rover are still going strong, as is the Chang’e 3 lander. (The Chang’e 3 rover died after 31 months of work on the lunar surface.)

• Chang’e 5 is part of a recent surge in ‘sample-return missions’. On December 6th, for example, pieces of the asteroid Ryugu collected by Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission are scheduled to touch down in Australia. And NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe gathered a hefty sample of the asteroid Bennu last month. That material will return to Earth in September 2023.

 

                             Chang’e 5

The first lunar sample-return mission since the 1970s is underway.

China’s robotic Chang’e 5 mission launched today (Nov. 23) from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, rising into the sky atop a Long March 5 rocket at about 3:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT; 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 24 local time in Hainan).

If all goes according to plan, the bold and complex Chang’e 5 will haul pristine moon samples back to Earth in mid-December — something that hasn’t been done since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976.

Chang’e 5’s short mission will be action-packed. The 18,100-lb. (8,200 kilograms) spacecraft will likely arrive in lunar orbit around Nov. 28, then send two of its four modules — a lander and an ascent vehicle — to the lunar surface a day or so later. (Chinese officials have been characteristically vague about Chang’e 5’s details, so timeline information has been pieced together from various sources by China space watchers like Space News’ Andrew Jones, who also provides articles for Space.com.)

The mission will land in the Mons Rumker area of the huge volcanic plain Oceanus Procellarum (“Ocean of Storms”), portions of which have been explored by a number of other surface missions, including NASA’s Apollo 12 in 1969.

The stationary lander will study its environs with cameras, ground-penetrating radar and a spectrometer. But its main job is to snag about 4.4 lbs. (2 kg) of lunar material, some of which will be dug from up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) underground. This work will be done over the course of two weeks, or one lunar day — a firm deadline, given that the Chang’e 5 lander is solar-powered and won’t be able to operate once night falls at its location.

Mons Rumker harbors rocks that formed just 1.2 billion years ago, meaning that Chang’e 5 “will help scientists understand what was happening late in the moon’s history, as well as how Earth and the solar system evolved,” as the nonprofit Planetary Society noted its description of the mission. (The 842 lbs., or 382 kg, of moon rocks brought home by the Apollo astronauts between 1969 and 1972 are considerably older, providing a window in the deeper lunar past.)

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