TOPSHOT – A Long March 3B rocket carrying the Beidou-3GEO3 satellite lifts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on June 23, 2020. – China on June 23 launched the final satellite in its homegrown geolocation system designed to rival the US GPS network, marking a major step in its race for market share in the lucrative sector. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
“Evidence of both nations’ intent to undercut the United States and allied leadership in the space domain can be seen in the growth of combined in-orbit assets of China and Russia, which grew approximately 70% in just two years.” — Kevin Ryder, senior analyst at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for space and counterspace, Air Force Magazine April 12, 2022.
Space has already become the scene of an ongoing “shadow war” in which China and Russia conduct attacks against U.S. satellites with lasers, radiofrequency jammers, and cyber-attacks every day, according to General David Thompson, the U.S. Space Force’s first vice chief of space operations.
“The threats are really growing and expanding every single day…. We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened…. Hostile action toward our space-based assets is not a question of ‘if,’ but instead, ‘when.'” — General David Thompson, Washington Post, November 30, 2021.
“Fifteen years after China’s ASAT strike, we still lack the ability to defeat an attack on our space systems or launch an offensive strike if circumstances warrant.” — US Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton (Ret.), former commander of U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Space Command, The Hill, April 12, 2022.
“The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] will continue to integrate space services… to erode the U.S. military’s information advantage.” — Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, February 2022.
“If deterrence were to fail, we would face an adversary that has integrated space into all aspects of their military operations…. Space provides the foundation of everything we do as a joint force, from delivering humanitarian assistance to combat on the ground, in the air, and at sea…. We cannot afford to lose space; without it we will fail.” — General John W. Raymond, U.S. Chief of Space Operations, Space Force News, April 5, 2022.