Is China testing a missile to knock out U.S. communications satellites?
On Oct. 30, 2015, a Dong Neng-3 exo-atmospheric vehicle was launched from China’s Korla Missile Test Complex in western China, sources close to the defense department said.
Officially, the US State Department and Pentagon officials have declined to comment on the purported anti-satellite test.
However, sources close to the situation claim that the DN-3 is a direct-ascent missile designed to ram and destroy satellites. Intelligence analysis contends that the weapon may also be used for defensive purposes.
The DN-3 flight test was the eighth time China has carried out an anti-satellite missile test, according to reports.
When asked about the missile's purpose, a Chinese embassy spokesperson said via email, "I don’t have detailed information about the missile test you mentioned. China advocates for the peaceful use of outer space, and opposes space weaponization or arms race in space."
China claimed that a test in July 2014 was also a missile defense test and not an ASAT (anti-satellite test).
In response, the assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, Frank Rose, said "Despite China’s claims that this was not an ASAT test; let me assure you the United States has high confidence in its assessment that the event was indeed an ASAT test."
"The continued development and testing of destructive ASAT systems is both destabilizing and threatens the long-term security and sustainability of the outer space environment,” Rose added.
In January 2007, China reportedly sent a direct ascent missile which destroyed one of their own weather satellites, creating tens of thousands of space debris that continue to pose danger to other satellites and manned spacecraft including the ISS.
As C2C previously reported the United States Air Force is building a "space fence" to track with pinpoint accuracy millions of objects hovering above the Earth.