China launches ‘mystery object’ into space
In what could ring alarm bells for the Indian security establishment, a report of the United States Department of Defence (DoD), has warned about China “destructive” space programme of stalling or destroying satellites of other countries and how its nuclear-powered submarines now make forays into the Indian Ocean.
Released on May 8, the DoD’s annual report to the US Congress on ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2015’ talks about a mystery ‘object’ that Beijing had launched in space on a ballistic trajectory with a peak altitude above 30,000 km.
This trajectory took it near geosynchronous orbit, where many nations maintain communications and earth-sensing satellites. The “object” re-entered Earth’s orbit 9.5 hours after launch. The US report failed to indentify it and stated: “The launch profile was not consistent with traditional space-launch vehicles, ballistic missiles or sounding rocket launches used for scientific research. It could, however, have been a test of technologies with a counterspace mission.”
“China continues to develop a variety of capabilities designed to limit or prevent the use of space-based assets by adversaries, including the development of directed-energy weapons and satellite jammers”, the US report warned. The US expressed concern “China’s continued development of destructive space technologies represented a threat to all peaceful nations”.