Elon Musk’s Starlink Project Is ‘Very Scary’ in China, Says Space Industry Expert

As Americans try out the latest Starlink satellite dishes on their recreational vehicles, a space expert claims that Elon Musk’s Starlink system is making the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “nervous”Why IThe SpaceX company specializing in satellite Internet is ” only “ actor on the ground currently able to participate in the strategic space race between the United States and China.

“It’s important to understand that Elon Musk’s SpaceX company is the only thing keeping the United States in the space race against China”explains in an interview to seasonsBrandon Weichert, space industry expert and author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower” [Gagner l’espace : comment les États‑Unis restent une superpuissance, ndt.]

According to the expert, Starlink is “may have become an indispensable element of war”. With this, the group “nervous” US rivals, though Musk is under double “offensive” the White House and the military establishment.

Starlink, a constellation of internet satellites operated by SpaceX, Musk’s spacecraft company, now comprises more than 2,400 satellites orbiting the Earth at an altitude more than 60 times lower than the satellites carrying most of the internet. around the world.

the CCP “nervous”

The reason US adversaries are concerned about Starlink, according to Weichert, is that this satellite system is resistant to the large-scale attacks that US adversaries are currently capable of, and therefore makes the “undoing” of the American space infrastructure much more difficult than before.

“The Starlink program is an excellent private sector success story that perfectly illustrates how critical but vulnerable military satellite constellations can be protected. »

“Starlink’s strength is its idle capacity. So basically, we saw last summer a solar flare that brought down something like 20, maybe even 40 Starlink satellites. Musk didn’t even blink. Within a day, these systems were replaced because they are small and cheap. »

As Weichert details in his book, Russia and China could previously prevent the US military from accessing communications networks by attacking US satellites, for example, using electromagnetic pulse attacks.

“Both Russia and China are threatened by this capability because they know how the Americans can use it to their advantage.. And that’s why these two countries are livid now. They are desperately trying to come up with countermeasures to keep what they thought was advantageous, with possibilities to control space, the ability to stop Americans from using space in the event of conflict. »

According to the expert, a recent clue proves that the CCP feels threatened by Starlink: the CCP complained to the United Nations about the maneuvers that the Chinese space station Tiangong had to perform to avoid collisions with Starlink satellites in two separate incidents.

“China came in muttering that one of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites nearly collided with their new modular space station, which was obviously exaggerated… »

The United States refuted the CCP’s claims in a note verbale in response. SpaceX released a statement acknowledging the encounters. The company says it monitors the flight path of its satellites to maintain a safe distance from Tiangong.

According to the expert, Starlink has impressive cyber defense capabilities even for Pentagon defense experts.

“The Pentagon’s electronic warfare expert witnessed in real-time SpaceX operators defending the Starlink satellite onboard system against Russian cyberattacks, relentless cyberattacks”explains Mr. Weichert, referring to Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare at the Pentagon, who said breaking defense that SpaceX’s capabilities have given you “gives me the creeps”.

Therefore, if the Chinese military attempted a cyberattack on Starlink’s embedded operating systems, China “would experience a very rude awakening”believe Mr. Weichert.

The only player in the race for space

According to Brandon Weichert, SpaceX is now “the only thing keeping the United States in the space race against China”but is forced to maneuver through US institutional forces.

“The problem is that our own government doesn’t seem to recognize or care that SpaceX is the only project that allows the United States to stay in the new space race and remain competitive. »

“NASA has fallen asleep on its laurels and the Space Force doesn’t know what it wants to do. »

“Meanwhile, most American leaders do not see space as a strategic domain. China yes. Musk yes. »

According to Weichert, the reasons for this lack of mobilization are due to a blatant disagreement over political ideology between Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, and the White House.

SpaceX “It is also under strong political pressure due to Elon Musk’s political positions, especially recently. Elon Musk is not a friend of the Biden administration”remember Mr. Weichert, adding that this disagreement “set a giant target” on Musk’s back.

Musk’s recent criticism of the Biden administration and the Democratic Party has sparked controversy in the political world. The billionaire hinted that Biden was not the ” real “ President of the United States and called the Democratic Party the Party of “share” and some ” to hate “.

“They started chasing Musk. They go after him with a regulatory issue over buying Twitter: not because of anything wrong, but simply because Musk is a political rival. »

“So the problem today is not China or Russia. »

The stagnation of the United States in the space race can also be explained, according to Mr. Weichert, for the existence of a military cartel that is “far from being as innovative as SpaceX”.

“Today you have a cartel of a handful of very powerful defense contractors who are not really looking to build defense systems that are efficient, quick to develop and less expensive than they are now. »

“So SpaceX is undermining this old defense industry cartel. That’s why Musk is hated. For that he is attacked by the bureaucracy, not to mention all the political aggression of the Biden administration. »

Brandon Weichert suggests that the US adopt SpaceX’s innovative model, which uses easily replaceable satellite arrays to make US space infrastructure more resilient to warfare attacks from space.

“Whether SpaceX gets the contract or another company, they need to replicate the SpaceX model. This is the key”he insists.

in your book “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower”Mr. Weichert warns the United States that it must change the paradigm in its view of space and consider space as a “strategic area” to avoid a “devastating surprise attack” launched by Russia or China in time of war, which would, according to their terms, be a “Pearl Harbor from Space”.

“The United States is like a heavy truck. When we move as a nation, we cannot stop. On the other hand, in the beginning, it is always more difficult for our country. »

“Today, the United States must prepare for a space Pearl Harbor – and everyone in Washington knows it. »

U.S. Space Force officials did not respond at the time of publication to a request for comment fromseasons.

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