You'll recall that yesterday I blogged about the current NASA director Bill Nelson's strange statements regarding UFOs and what they might be. They could be literally anything, from extra-terrestrial probes to advanced Chinese or Russian technology or even the technology of some non-state human actor. But whatever they are, they clearly constitute a national security "issue" if not outright "threat." Or as I argued yesterday, the "narrative options" were kept open, but the unifying factor to all the narratives was the "national security" threat.
In that context, consider the following story shared by W.G. concerned a new "low-tech" Chinese anti-satellite weapon:
This is an interesting weapon, if the description in the article proves to be true:
A team of scientists in China have created a device that uses explosives to destroy enemy satellites.
The weapon can be inserted inside of a satellite’s exhaust nozzle, according to The South China Morning Post. A paper published about the device and obtained by SCMP says that it can detonate to create a “time-controlled, steady explosion.”
Astonishingly, the weapon leaves the satellite intact after exploding, instead damaging the probe’s interior. The SCMP reports that since the explosion is partially contained, it could be mistaken for an engine mishap.
While it’s unclear how exactly the device would be inserted into a satellite, this method does offer a novel way of incapacitating offending probes without using lasers or missiles, which are easily detectable — and hints at a future in which spycraft involves sabotaging active satellites in orbit.
In other words, the new weapon is capable of maneuvering and attaching itself to another satellite - in this instance, the exhaust port of a satellite's rockets - a capability that also implies the ability to (1) maneuver and collide with a satellite and damaging or destroying it through sheer kinetic force, or (2) maneuver and attach itself to the exterior of a satellite and then explode, or even (3) maneuver and attach itself to a satellite, and perhaps to "hijack" that satellite for another power, perhaps even hijacking its hardware and software in a kind of space-cyber hijacking.
I mention all these possibilities because of a few incidents and stories you might recall in recent space news. For example, a recent study in the United Kingdom mentioned "space piracy" as a concern, and piracy, of course, involves the theft of another power's resources, stolen on the high seas. There's a hidden implication to the concern about space piracy. Pirates, historically, were of two basic sorts: (1) those working under the cover of piracy for one sea power against another sea power's ocean going commerce and assets, and (2) those working entirely for themselves and not for any power at all, in effect making them non-state actors. It's that second possibility that intrigues, because in yesterday's blog I pointed out that NASA's UFO concerns also were thinking in terms of of the possibility non-state (but entirely human) actors possessing advanced "UFO" technologies. It seems a bit too convenient that the UK is talking about space piracy, and NASA is talking about "non-state actors" in possession of such technologies.
There's an incident in this regard that touches on all these stories. You might recall that in 2009 a Russian communications satellite Kosmos 2251 and an American satellite, Iridium 33, collided in orbit above the Earth at high velocity. Both satellites were destroyed, and the news media duly reported the story, and moved on. The story was a big "ho hum... all that space debris up there... just an accidental collision... nothing to see here, move along." At the time, I along with a few others (Richard C. Hoagland for example) thought the story was highly significant, and I still do, and for a very simple reason: neither Russia nor the United States are in the habit of placing satellites in orbit where they are going to collide with other satellites, even under circumstances of orbital decay, and so on. Nor is either country in the habit of not moving their satellites if it appears a collision is possible. Finally, there was the speed... both satellites were travelling at high speed. This was not a case of a fast-moving satellite striking a piece of space debris. It was more like a case of a bullet striking another bullet in mid-flight.
Or to put it simply: someone had moved the satellites. It was not an accident; it was a demonstration. The collision was not accidental, but deliberate. Either the US, or Russia, or "someone" had maneuvered the collision. It is interesting to note that after that collision, Russia, China, and the USA all carried out "near approach" missions in space with their satellites, maneuvering them close to each other's satellites.
To tie all this together into one big knot of high octane speculation, it would appear that the concerns about "space piracy" and "non-state actors" might not be future concerns, but rather, lessons and conclusions from the past.
And China - if this story be true - has just invented a satellite torpedo...
See you on the flip side...