|China radar at South Pole could sabotage U.S. spy satellites
East-Asia-Intel.com, February 1, 2006
Beijing announced plans last week to build a high-frequency radar on the South Pole. Analysts say the radar could be used to disrupt U.S. intelligence satellites.
The radar will be built at China’s Zhongshan Station, where Beijing has set up of a space environment lab.
China's Xinhua News Agency released this photo, the first snowfall in 2006, at China's Zhongshan Station in Antarctica on Jan. 24. AP Photo /Xinhua, Zhang Zongtang
The station will consist of 20 antenna units, including 16 units for the main antenna and four for the auxiliary antenna. Each antenna is 20 meters high. The high-frequency radar can detect ionospheric convection within a range of 3,000 kilometers.
Chinese officials told Xinhua the station would be used to measure the polar space environment.
China’s space program, unlike the U.S. space program, is directly related to Chinese military operations.
National security analysts say the South Pole site, because of its remoteness, could be used by China to develop anti-satellite lasers capable of blinding or disrupting U.S. reconnaissance satellites, most of which pass over the pole.
A Pentagon report on the Chinese military last year said China was “working on, and plans to field, ASAT systems.”
“Beijing has and will continue to enhance its satellite tracking and identification network — the first step in establishing a credible ASAT capability,” the report said, noting “China can currently destroy or disable satellites only by launching a ballistic missile or space-launch vehicle armed with a nuclear weapon.”
Beijing is also “conducting research to develop ground-based laser ASAT weapons," the report stated.