Image: YouTube – Chinese spacecraft damages US satellite, “Space Force” Episode 1

What’s New: Leaked classified documents obtained by the Washington Post indicate government intelligence agrees with what most observers have been saying. In a conflict over Taiwan, China will almost certainly jam GPS and has the ability to damage or destroy satellites.

Why It’s Important: 

  • The US is far more dependent on space that China.
  • In the region
    • Denying GPS in the region would degrade the effectiveness of US and allied forces
    • Denying GPS to Taiwan for an extended period could throw their society and economy into chaos
    • China has terrestrial eLoran navigation and timing up to 1,000 miles offshore. Their forces will not be as impacted by denial of signals from space
  • Strategically
    • China could try to dissuade the US from defending Taiwan by threatening to jam GPS globally or to damage the satellites. Carrying out the threat would be devastating to the US economy and would likely lead to a wider conflict.
    • China’s comprehensive PNT architecture means their economy and society would suffer far less than the US from major disruptions of space-based PNT.


U.S. is concerned about rivals’ space threats, leaked documents show

Russia’s program is in tatters, while China has developed ways to counter American capabilities

Russia’s troubled space program “very likely will diminish during the next decade” as it faces increased global competition, U.S. sanctions and the rise of SpaceX, which has eaten a large chunk of Russia’s revenue, according to a leaked top secret U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Washington Post.

At the same time, China has developed significant capabilities “to hold key U.S. and Allied space assets at risk,” and would deploy them in any conflict with Taiwan, according to another leaked document…

Speaking last week at the Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs, Space Force Gen. Chance Saltzman, the chief of space operations, said the Pentagon is “seeing an incredibly sophisticated array of threats” that includes jamming of communications and GPS satellites, spacecraft that can grapple other satellites, lasers that can dazzle them, cyberattacks and even “nesting dolls,” or satellites that release others that spread out and track adversaries’ spacecraft.