PRC Defense: Starlink Countermeasures

The article translated below from the PRC journal Modern Defense Technology “The Development Status of Starlink and Its Countermeasures” discusses countering a military threat — more precisely military threats enabled by much faster communications — and what capabilities China would need to counter the Starlink constellation. No secrets herein, just a guidepost to what China will need to work on to develop the capability to disable that robust low earth orbit communications system. Stephen Chen of the South China Morning Post in his May 25 article “China military must be able to destroy Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites if they threaten national security: scientists” mentioned this journal article.

Two of the four authors of the article, Ren Yuanzheng and Jin Sheng, are affiliated with a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) research organization, the Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology 北京跟踪与通信技术研究所 with headquarters in the Haidian District of Beijing. Some unclassified publications by researchers at the Institute are available online in Chinese. See DeepL Machine Translation of Google Scholar list of Recent Unclassified Publications by Researchers at the PLA’s  Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology The other three authors Lu Yaobing, Gao Hongwei, and Sun Shuyuan are affiliated with the Beijing Institute of Radiation and Measurement Technology 北京无线电测量研究所 which is a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited which was founded in 1999 perhaps as part of an effort of PLA military procurement reform to create a corporate military-industrial sector loosely based on the US model.

See also (the books mentoned here discuss among other things, iteration upon iteration of PRC military-industrial reform, gradually fixing some outstanding systemic problems, including better integration of modern quality control thinking to improve quality and shorten weapons system development cycles)

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army sponsored online publication China Military Online on May 5th article “Starlink’s expansion, military ambitions alert world” also warned of a potential threat from Starlink. This website also links to the English-language website of the PRC Ministry of National Defense.

Multi-faceted penetration to multiply military advantages

While Starlink claims to be a civilian program that provides high-speed Internet services, it has a strong military background, as well evidenced by the fact that some of the launch sites are built within the Vandenberg Air Force Base and the encrypted interconnection between the satellites and Air Force fighters has been included into their technical verification tests.

As a matter of fact, Starlink has cooperated with American military many times. In 2019, SpaceX received funds from the US Air Force to test how well Starlink satellites can connect with military aircraft under encryption; in May 2020, the US Army signed an agreement with SpaceX on the use of Starlink’s broadband to transmit data across military networks; in October 2020, SpaceX won a USD 150-million contract to develop military-use satellites; in March 2021, it announced its plan to work with the US Air Force to further test the Starlink Internet.

When completed, Starlink satellites can be mounted with reconnaissance, navigation and meteorological devices to further enhance the US military’s combat capability in such areas as reconnaissance remote sensing, communications relay, navigation and positioning, attack and collision, and space sheltering.

excerpt from “Starlink’s expansion, military ambitions alert world” by Li Xiaoli on China Military Online, which calls itself a website “sponsored by the PLA. “

In case any military conflicts occurs, the PLA would need to be concerned about many other satellite communications systems as well. See for example the Wikipedia article Defense Satellite Communications System.

Given the rapidly declining cost of space launches and the more compact high performance satellites being launches many at a time — sometimes launched fifty at a time — the anti-satellite attack problem is getting more difficult. Not to mention the difficulty in reaching and attacking satellites in higher earth orbits. Massive numbers of satellites could be disabled by nuclear or perhaps non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapons yet those may disable the attacker’s own satellites as well as electric power grids and other terrestrial facilities as well.

Inexpensive satellite internet from low earth orbit satellite constellation might also be a threat to China’s ideological security — one of the top concerns of the Chinese Communist Party.  China adddressed the TV satellite dish threat by cracking down repeatedly on unauthorized satellite TV dishes and finally, and more successfully, by marketing digital TV decoders that operate on a unique Chinese encryption scheme and banning the sale of decoders that can decode pernicious digital satellite TV channels from non-Chinese satellites. Some people too use virtual private network (VPN) software on their computers, something that the managers of the Great Red Firewall and local police seem increaingly to be cracking down on. People still can find some digital satellite TV pirate decoders no doubt — there is an old Chinese saying “For every measure from on high, there is a countermeasure from below.” As always, the language barrier and intimidation are the most important tools in the censor’s toolbox. Repression and countermeasures both come in waves and feed upon one another.

China, like other space-faring nations, needs to worry about the proliferation of satellites and space junk destroying other satellites including space stations. Space is very big and small object tracking is robut but still with so much stuff up there accidents will be more frequent.  I hope people don’t have to be killed before something is done about it..  Private launches by US companies are approved by the  US Federal Communications Commission because they need to use radio spectrum for their ground communications.

 Likely some more robust and international control/coordination system will be needed as launch costs seem to be dropping rapidly and high performance lightweight satellites are being developed.  So far private launches are mostly from the USA, but that will likely change. 

An uncensored internet is a terrible thing.   Geostationary satellites need a big antenna since they are over 22,000 miles up;  low earth satellites are much closer and greatly reduce antenna and transmit power requirements. Terrestrial jamming could be difficult since users could aim their directional antennas straight up, rejecting terrestrial signals to a very large degree. 

This article was taken down (the issue is still online but the article on Starlink on pp. 11 – 18 has ben removed. You can can access it via Dropbox. I usually copy or save a Dropbox link to interesting Chinese articles I find. They have a way of disappearing! If the link for the magazine at https://www.xdfyjs.cn/CN/volumn/volumn_20.shtml is not working, you can use the capture of the homepage for Modern Defense Technology is available on the Internet Archive.

If you are curious about the other topics discussed in Modern Defense Technology — such as satellites, remote sensing, methods to get drones to fly in formation, target tracking, unmanned ships and unmanned ships, navigation and target identification — you can take a look at the English language side of the website.

Table of Contents of the April 2022 issue of Modern Defense Technology on the English language side of the website.

Another translation of a Modern Defense Technology article: 2022: PRC Researcher on Next Generation U.S. Early Warning Satellites

I looked around the Modern Defense Technology website and found the form that authors must sign — an Article Confidentiality Review Certificate 文章保密审查证明 certifying that their article is not giving away and secrets. I ran it through Google Lens->Google Translate.

I had a security clearance when I worked for the U.S. State Department. I remember my first security interview by an officer from State Department Diplomatic Security in 1991 (part of his previous job was following suspected Russian agents around as an FBI counterintelligence officer based in Philadelphia). One of his questions was “Are you in contact with anyone from the Soviet bloc?” I had to be completely honest so I said “I talk to those guys every weekend from my basement!” I had to explain that I am a ham radio operator. I got my clearance.

Interesting to see something of the security procedures of other countries.

Here it is:

The Chinese original text 文章保密审查证明 I saved on Dropbox. You can use it when you submit your article.

The Chinese military also worries about the possible use of undersea drones against them. I saw a 2021 Chinese press report about them: Sea Drone “Spy” Caught by Chinese Fishermen


For every measure from on high, there is a countermeasure from below.” 上有政策,下有对策 Shàng yǒu zhèngcè, xià yǒu duìcè

This article again reminds me of the old Chinese saying I just mentioned now applied to a potential military threat in low earth orbit: “For every measure from on high, there is a countermeasure from below.” 上有政策,下有对策 applied mostly to earthly conflicts, this saying applies to outer space as well! For an earthly take on this earthy saying, see Google Translate’s machine translation of the Baidu Encyclopedia article on this saying! A nice introduction actually to the difficulties party bosses central, regional and local have in managing vast, decentralized China.

From the Wikipedia article Starlink:

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX,[2] providing satellite Internet access coverage to 32 countries where its use has been licensed. It aims for global coverage.[3][4] Starlink started launching satellites in 2019. As of May 2022 Starlink consists of over 2,400 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which communicate with designated ground transceivers.

The SpaceX satellite development facility in Redmond, Washington, houses the Starlink research, development, manufacturing, and orbit control teams. The cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy the constellation was estimated by SpaceX in May 2018 to be at least US$10 billion.[5] In February 2017, documents indicated that SpaceX expects more than $30 billion in revenue by 2025 from its satellite constellation, while revenues from its launch business were expected to reach $5 billion in the same year.[6][7]

from Wikipedia article “Starlink”
Modern Defense Technology is available online in Chinese.现代防御技术 ›› 2022Vol. 50 ›› Issue (2):

The Development Status of Starlink and Its Countermeasures 星链计划发展现状与对抗思考*

REN Yuan-zhen12 ,JIN Sheng1 ,LU Yao-bing2 ,GAO Hong-wei2 ,SUN Shu-yan2

(1. Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology,Beijing 100094,China;

2. Beijing Institute of Radiation and Measurement Technology,Beijing 100854,China)

Modern Defense Technology Volume 50, Issue 2, 2022

Abstract: At present, confronting the problem of insufficient internet coverage from terrestrial networks, the world has set off a wave of satellite-based internet. Among them,the Starlink has the largest planed scale and the largest number of launched satellites, making it the most representative low-orbit internet constellation. While this is a booming enterprise and it has a huge number of potential applications, it also has brought with it hidden dangers and challenges for our country. Therefore this article focuses on the Starlink, examines where it stands on its deployment schedule,its main parameters and characteristics, analyzes its application capabilities, specifically analyzes needed countermeasure capabilities needed and gives some suggestions on how to address this problem so as to actively respond to the risks and dangers brought by the Starlink and to better safeguard China’s sovereignty and national security.

Introduction

In recent years, with the development of satellite communication technology and changes in the Internet application environment, the wave of satellite Internet development has emerged in the world to provide Internet access to people who are difficult to be covered by fiber optic and cell phone base stations, in response to the problems of limited coverage of terrestrial networks, insufficient fiber optic penetration, and low network rates, especially the shortage of broadband in rural areas [1]. As the most representative of all satellite Internet constellations, Starlink has the largest planned network, the largest number of launched satellites, and close cooperation with the U.S. military. Although SpaceX is privately owned, it controls an entire industry supply chain. That brings potential hidden dangers and great challenges to China. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on the Starlink program, sort out its development status and characteristics, discuss its military application capabilities, and give corresponding disposal suggestions.

    1 Basic information of the Starlink program

1. 1 Background and Current Situation

In January 2015, SpaceX first proposed to carry out a satellite Internet broadband access project, namely the Starlink program [2]. The Starlink program aims to provide low-latency, high-bandwidth, full-coverage broadband network services to users worldwide, and it has been approved to launch nearly 12,000 satellites [3], and plans to launch another 30,000 satellites to reach a total of 42,000 satellites, which is the largest Internet constellation project proposed so far [4].

As shown in Table 1, the plan has been approved to launch 11,927 satellites in the construction of the main three steps [5]: the first step is to use 1,584 satellites to complete the initial coverage; the second step is to use 2,825 satellites to complete the global

The second step is to complete the global network with 2,825 satellites; the third step is to form a more aggressive low-orbit satellite constellation with 7,518 satellites. The total number of satellites in the first two steps is 4,409, operating in Ka-band and Ku-band. The 7,518 satellites in step 3 operate in V-band and are all highly maneuverable satellites [6].

Since the first successful launch of the first batch of satellites for chain operations in May 2019 (v0. 9), SpaceX has started an intensive launch deployment and the rate is increasing. 2020 year, a total of 14 launches were completed, while 2021 launches were completed.

In 2020, a total of 14 launches were completed, and in 2021 the launch frequency was even higher, with 13 launches completed in less than six months. Currently, SpaceX has completed 30 batches (1 v0. 9, 28 v1. 0, 1 polar orbiting satellite) of satellite network launches for the Starlink program. Together with the two test satellites (Microsat-2A and Microsat-2B) launched in early 2018, a total of 1,737 satellites have been launched, most of which have achieved ultra-high precision orbit. Currently, there are 1,664 satellites in orbit (see Figure 1 for the operational chart), and 73 satellites have been deorbited. Through the existing satellite network, global coverage of continuous mid- and low-latitude regions has been initially achieved.

And from October 2020, SpaceX has opened up the satellite had inaugurated its Starlink servicces company.

The user only needs to configure the Starlink kit (including user antenna terminals and routers, etc.) to access the network. Currently, the Starlink satellite Internet service has more than 10,000 users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, France and other places, capable of providing high-speed network services of 200-400 Mbps, and more than 500,000 customers have pre-ordered Starlink Internet service. In view of the booming demand, SpaceX has further applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the number of authorizations to 5 million, based on the authorization to operate antenna terminals for 1 million users [7].

The number of licenses is expected to increase to 5 million by the end of 2021 [7]. It is expected that by the end of 2021, Starlink will be able to expand the satellite Internet service to a near-global coverage.

    1. 2 Main parameters

  1. Satellite mass: 227 kg (v0. 9), 260 kg (v1. 0) [8].
  2. Satellite lifetime: 5 years
  3. Frequency bands: Ku, Ka, V-band and laser. Initially, only Ku-band is supported for communication between the satellite and the terminal and the gateway station, and later, Ka- and V-band communication is supported in combination with a dual-band chipset. The laser link is used for inter-satellite communication. Low Earth Orbit (low earth orbit, LEO) sub-constellation of satellites will use Ku, Ka and V-band, and very low earth orbit (very LEO, VLEO) sub-constellation of satellites will use all V-band [9].
  4. Single-satellite downlink capacity: 17-23 Gb/s
  5. Single-satellite beam coverage: LEO constellation satellites at an altitude of 550 km can provide services at a range of up to 44.85° from the bottom of the sky, with a ground coverage radius of about 573.5 km. The ground coverage radius is about 573.5 km, and user terminals and gateways can communicate with the satellite at an elevation angle of at least 40°; 335.9 km altitude VLEO constellation satellites can provide services at a range of up to 51.09° from the sky, and the ground coverage radius is about 435 km, and user terminals and gateways can communicate with the satellite at an elevation angle of at least 35° [10].
  6. Platform: single solar cell wing, 4 phased array flat panel antennas, 5 silicon carbide laser devices

    1. 3 Features

        (1) Seamless global coverage

At present, the global continuous coverage has been initially achieved. And when the whole star chain system is deployed, the coverage capability to the equator and poles will be further enhanced to realize the real global coverage.

        (2) High speed

At present, the network speed can reach more than 50 Mb/s. It is expected that by the end of 2021, the networks speed will reach 300 Mb/s, with a target of 1 Gb/s in the future.

        (3) Low latency

The system uses a low-orbit constellation, so it is possible to control the latency between 20 and 40 ms or even lower after deployment.

        (4) High capacity

The downlink capacity of a single satellite is between 17 and 23 Gb/s, and more than 1,600 satellites have been deployed with a total capacity of about 32 Tb/s. As SpaceX improves and upgrades the satellites, it is possible to further increase the capacity of a single satellite and the total capacity of the entire satellite system.

        (5) Low Cost

The use of recoverable rockets and fairing technology significantly reduces launch costs. In orbital operation and maintenance, the use of krypton ion electric propulsion engines instead of xenon ion electric propulsion engines has cut expenses while meeting the orbit-keeping capability. In addition, a large number of standardized and commercially available components are used, enabling rapid production in large quantities at low cost.

        (6) High fault tolerance

With the adoption of multi-constellation networking, the failure of individual satellites does not affect the overall performance, which enhances the flexibility, capacity and robustness of the whole system [11].

        (7) Strong orbital maneuverability

All satellites are first deployed to lower orbits with rockets, and then rely on their own thrust to enter the intended orbit. In addition, some of the early satellites have also carried out a variety of re-orbiting strategies and alternate tests of lifting and lowering orbits, and the orbit altitude has been reduced to as low as 270 km, reflecting the strong re-orbiting maneuvering capability.

    2 Comprehensive Application Capability

Constrained by satellite capacity and constellation construction costs, the Starlink program does not and cannot replace terrestrial communication networks, but complements and complements terrestrial base stations to provide Internet services for users. It is mainly located to provide Internet service for people who are difficult to be covered by fiber optic and cell phone base stations, such as rural areas, mountainous areas, deserts and oceans where fiber optic coverage is low or even non-existent. The satellite Internet constellation represented by the star chain will further promote the rapid development of broadband Internet and expand the breadth and depth of commercial services [12]. On the one hand, the Starlink program complements the existing terrestrial network, forming a three-dimensional Internet connection network in Earth space, greatly expanding and improving the physical space of the network, and laying a solid foundation for the construction of an information system for the interconnection of everything. On the other hand, the Starlink project further expands the application scope and scenarios of broadband Internet, such as providing more accurate and reliable location services for mobile positioning terminals, providing communication support capabilities for the enhancement of smart terminals, providing full tracking services for aviation and maritime surveillance and improving transportation safety and reliability, etc. Development of Starlink Program

It has promoted profound changes in the communication chain and helped build an information system of everything connected and rich and diversified application scenarios, thus injecting more kinetic energy and vitality into the digital economy. However, at the same time, it also poses a difficult problem of data and information regulation because it can easily break through the restrictions of countries and realize the flow of data.

In addition, the Internet constellation system has a wide range of applications, not only to provide commercial services to residents, enterprises and governments, but also to play an important role across domains [13]. Although SpaceX proposed the Starlink program to provide satellite Internet services, in August 2017, it broadened the application of Starlink to include satellite communication and transmission, satellite imaging, remote sensing, and other services when it filed a trademark registration application with the U.S. Patent Office, implying great potential for combat information support and other services. In addition, the U.S. military also played a catalytic role in the development of the Starlink program, whether it was sponsoring SpaceX to expand the application scenarios of the Starlink program to the military at the early stage of its launch, or continuously carrying out technical verification tests during the network construction, which fully proved the ability of the Starlink program beyond civilian applications. The comprehensive application capabilities of the Starlink program are shown in Figure 2. Therefore, the following analysis will focus on this application capability.

        (1) Broadband Communication Capabilities

The Starlink program provides low-cost, low-latency, high-throughput, and global coverage high-speed Internet services that can significantly enhance the U.S. military’s operational communications capabilities. On the one hand, it can provide more stable and reliable communication capabilities for U.S. military combat units deployed around the world, and on the other hand, it also has the potential to provide high-definition pictures and even live video. Currently, the U.S. has conducted tests using the C-12 military reconnaissance aircraft and achieved a network speed of 610 Mb/s, 102 times the current U.S. military theater minimum transmission rate requirement of 5 Mb/s. In addition, the U.S. Army has conducted AC-130 helicopter gunship access tests and Army combat platform communications tests, and has connected a variety of air and ground military equipment at high speeds via Starlink satellites during live fire exercises. In the near future, the U.S. will be able to use the Starlink program to further enhance the information acquisition capability and speed of the main combat equipment, the F-35 fighter aircraft, while more rapidly transmitting information to other command and control nodes to enhance local battlefield C4 ISR capabilities.

        (2) Seamless All-Weather Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capability

The satellite chain has global coverage capability and high revisit rate, especially for the densely populated areas of the world, where several satellites transit the zenith at each moment. By carrying visible, infrared, radar and passive payloads on the satellite, 24-hour continuous surveillance and reconnaissance can be achieved to enhance the surveillance capability of moving targets.

        (3) Space-based target detection/suppression capability

By carrying various sensors, the satellite chain can detect and track satellites, rockets, space debris, missiles and other targets, and support target positioning, orbit determination and orbit prediction. Currently, in order to consolidate and strengthen its space dominance, the United States has proposed a 7-layer next-generation defense space architecture, which aims to build a proliferating low Earth orbit space architecture and unify and integrate the next-generation space capabilities of the U.S. Department of Defense [14]. The U.S. Department of Defense Space Development Agency has commissioned SpaceX to build four anti-missile tracking satellites based on the Starlink satellite platform for its next-generation defense space architecture (national defense space architecture, NDSA) tracking layer to further enhance the missile defense and hypersonic vehicle detection, tracking and indication capabilities. In addition, the satellite chain has a strong maneuvering capability to change orbit and can carry robotic arm and other on-orbit operation devices to achieve the approach and disposal of space-based targets.

        (4) Future combat concept test bed

The United States in the next generation of military satellite system planning to use more constellations based on small satellites to improve the flexibility of space-based systems, anti-destructive capabilities. Star chain satellites can be used as a platform to carry information support payloads such as sensors and communication equipment, greatly enhancing flexibility and anti-destructive capabilities.

At the same time, with the ability to go hand in hand is the ability of the Starlink program to become a vehicle for emerging U.S. warfare concepts, typically represented by mosaic warfare [15]. This new type of combat by arbitrarily combining with standardized functional units, at the functional level to integrate a larger number of smaller, single-function combat elements into more unmanned, autonomous systems to build a kill network with good adaptivity and flexibility, which can be adjusted in a timely manner according to changes in the battlefield posture force structure layout, change the operation of the battle plan, so as to play the maximum effectiveness in the right place, and ultimately confuse the enemy’s combat targets, cause “battlefield fog”, and gain the dominant advantage in system confrontation [16].

Star chain low orbit constellations can quickly shape the situation according to the mission requirements, sensitive mobile deployment, reduce the adversary’s decision speed and quality, affect its operational effectiveness, so as to grasp the initiative in combat, subverting the traditional space and network security system [17].

    3 Analysis of Countermeasure Requirements

Given the unique characteristics and outstanding integrated application capabilities of the Starlink program, it poses a potential threat to me. In order to better safeguard national security interests and protect our space assets, we propose five targeted countermeasures

The countermeasure capability requirements are shown in Figure 3.

Countermeasures Requirements

  1. Full Starlink constellation wide area surveillance capability
  2. Precise sensing of key targets
  3. Capability for comprehensive intelligent fusion of situational data
  4. Capability to recover from anomalous events in outer space.
  5. Low-orbit group target system countermeasure capability

The specific analysis is as follows.

    (1) Full constellation wide area surveillance capability

Due to the large number of satellites in the chain and the completion of the network will cover the global space, in order to better grasp the situation of the constellation, it is necessary to be able to monitor a large number of satellites at the same time, which will pose a huge challenge to China’s existing low-orbit space target surveillance. Therefore, it is necessary to further develop low-orbit universal measurement and cataloging equipment capable of all-weather detectin the full constellation to support satellite target measurement, cataloging and other tasks.

    (2) Precise sensing capability of key targets

The number of satellites in the satellite chain is huge, and some of them will provide services for the U.S. military, and it is difficult to distinguish these satellites at the time of launch. Therefore, China should develop precision measurement equipment, with all-weather, all-day, all-weather high-precision orbit measurement, tracking and measurement capabilities for key space areas, and be able to obtain the target’s shape, profile, attitude, signal and other information to strongly support target identification.

    (3) Spatial situational intelligence fusion capability

In order to more comprehensively grasp the satellite posture of the star chain, multi-platform and multi-type sensors will be used for joint observation. Therefore, it is necessary to have multi-source information fusion processing capability to obtain more accurate information on the relevant attributes of the target.

information. On this basis, the target identification capability is also needed to support the judgment of load type and threat assessment.

    (4) Capability of capturing anomalous events in space

When the satellite chain is launched, it adopts the way of one arrow and multiple satellites, and other satellites will be put into orbit together, meanwhile, it has strong capability of changing orbit and can carry various loads to carry out various missions. Therefore, it should have space event analysis capability, and be able to analyze and evaluate new targets into orbit, target re-orbiting, target fall, etc., and generate customized event analysis reports to support our decision analysis.

    (5) Low-orbit group target system countermeasure capability

Due to the large number of satellites in the star chain and their short lifespan, it can easily happen that they deorbit or or lose control, and it also has a strong ability to change orbit, so we need to have a certain response capability. In addition, the constellation of star chains constitutes a decentralized space system, and the confrontation with it is not an “individual confrontation” but a “system confrontation”, so low-cost and high-efficiency means must be used to deal with it.

    4 Suggestions for countermeasures

With its disruptive and huge number, multidimensional and advanced technical features, and outstanding comprehensive application capabilities, the Starlink program will have a profound impact on information support and other fields, and needs to be actively addressed from various aspects.

    (1) Strengthen research on space combat system requirements

Actively track and pay attention to the development of the Starlink program and other Internet constellations, strengthen the study of their application capabilities, design scenarios for the use of the Starlink program, and generate system requirements for response and disposal. We will propose a development path that meets the characteristics of China from a national perspective and a higher viewpoint, and quickly iterate and validate through architecture modeling, simulation, and effectiveness assessment, so as to tract the system construction, development of cutting-edge detection means and professional technology enhancement, and thus realize effective checks and balances on the Internet constellations represented by the Starlink program.

    (2) Strengthen the declaration and reserve of satellite frequency orbit resources

Frequency and orbit resources are becoming increasingly scarce global strategic resources, and have become the focus of competition among the world’s space powers. In order to obtain high-quality resources, it is necessary to strengthen the overall planning, declaration and coordination of frequency and orbital resources of China’s satellite network, strengthen the reserve of satellite frequency and orbital resources, and actively guide the development and construction of commercial spaceflight by improving relevant policies and systems, and encourage private enterprises to make use of various means to declare and reserve resources in advance to improve external competitiveness.

    (3) Actively develop various new countermeasures and countermeasures 

The satellite chain plan giant satellite constellation, as a decentralized space system, has no obvious functional pivot, and the failure of a small number of nodes has no impact on its overall function.

The failure of a few nodes does not have a substantial impact on the overall function. At the same time, its huge number and movement range make detection and perception extremely difficult. On the one hand, the current space disposal means are “impossible” to deal with, and on the other hand, they are very costly and face great challenges, so it is necessary to develop various new disposal means and take corresponding measures to deal with them.

In order to grasp the satellite situation of the star chain in more detail and comprehensively, the development and construction of situational awareness equipment and systems should be targeted, combining active and passive detection methods, using multiple sources, multiple platforms and other perception means to obtain the satellite constellation information of the star chain, forming a map of situational awareness. In addition, based on the collected target characteristic information, target identification and threat analysis are carried out for star chain satellites carrying different payloads, and intelligence information and historical data are combined to support the formation of an understanding of the current space situation and prediction of future conditions in the star chain constellation, thus enabling command decision making and operators to obtain and maintain an information advantage in the fierce space game.

On the basis of situational awareness of the star chain constellation, it is necessary to further develop relevant technologies and disposal capabilities, strengthen strategic planning in space, vigorously develop countermeasures, and adopt a combination of soft and hard killing methods for some satellites in an abnormal state, so as to disable some of the “star chain” satellites and destroy the constellation operation system.

    5 Conclusion

After two years of vigorous development and rapid deployment, the Starlink program has completed the first phase of global network deployment, and initially realized the global coverage of continuous mid- and low-latitude regions. While providing commercial services, this giant constellation harbors great potential for military applications, posing a great challenge to our existing situational awareness and traditional defense capabilities. Therefore, it is necessary to actively respond in various aspects, especially to develop and build situational awareness equipment and systems in a targeted manner, and vigorously develop various new disposal means, so as to maintain and obtain space advantages in the fierce space game.

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LIU Shuai-jun, XU Fan-jiang, LIU Li-xiang, et al. The Coverage and Time Delay Analysis of the Starlink Constellation [J]. Satellite and Network, 2020(7): 50-52.

[11] LEVCHENKO I, XU Shu-yan, WU Yue-liang, et al. Hopes and Concerns for Astronomy of Satellite Constel- lations [J]. Nature Astronomy, 2020, 11(4): 1-3.

[12] He Kang . Star chains: reconfiguring the communication system in the era of global satellite Internet


About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated, with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
This entry was posted in Media 媒体, Military 军事, Science, Technology and Academic 科技学术 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

118 Responses to PRC Defense: Starlink Countermeasures

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