Thursday, October 16, 2008

The future battlefield... in orbit?

I have written about space warfare before but it seems the Chinese may be getting interested in it. The recent Shenzhou-7 of course conducted the first Chinese spacewalk but maybe more interestingly the space ship passed very close to the International Space Station.

After launching a micro-satellite known as BX-1 Shenzhou-7 passed within 45km of the ISS. Worryingly BX-1 began drifting away from it's intended trajectory just after it was launched. Although still some way off this is close in space terms and the greater speed of BX-1 than the ISS makes it doubtful the ISS could react if BX-1 was sent on an intercept.

Photo of Shenzhou-7 taken from BX-1

There is speculation that the PLA, who co-run the Shenzhou programme with civil authorities, are testing BX-1 for it's suitability as a co-orbital ASAT weapon.

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