Chinese researchers recommended that the country should develop a weapon that can destroy Elon Musk's Starlink satellites. The satellite weapon will be used if Starlink threatens China's national security.
The Chinese military or government has not declared their official stance on the matter.
Starlink is a constellation system of over 2,3000 satellites. Owned and operated by SpaceX, it provides broadband internet services to commercial and military users around the globe. It is touted to be indestructible because losing a few of the satellites will not affect the system.
South China Morning Post reported that a paper published in the domestic peer-reviewed journal Modern Defence Technology recommended that the military develop a weapon able to track, monitor, and disable each Starlink satellite.
Researcher Ren Yuanzhen wrote that a combination of soft and hard kill methods should be adopted to make some Starlink satellites lose their functions and destroy the constellation's operating system.
The recommendation was made after SpaceX signed a contract with the US Defense Department to develop a new technology based on the Starlink platform. This will include sensitive instruments able to detect and track hypersonic weapons. Ren estimated this will increase the data transmission speed of US military drones and stealth fighter jets by over 100 times.
The research paper suggests that the Chinese military upgrade its existing space surveillance systems to obtain super-sharp images of these small satellites for experts to identify unusual features.
Chinese experts think the Starlink constellation constitutes a decentralised system. "The confrontation is not about individual satellites, but the whole system. This requires some low-cost, high-efficiency measures".
China has already launched a similar project called Xing Wang - StarNet to provide internet on a global scale. It will have only a few hundred satellites but will achieve high performance, said Chinese space authorities.