Thursday, January 18, 2007

China tests 'space weapon'

Not yet 'Star Wars' but it is thought to be the first weapons deployment in space

China has tested a weapon in space much to the dismay of Canada, Australia and the USA. The United States have said the Chinese sent up a ballistic missile to destroy an ageing weather satellite and that the test went against the spirit of co-operation both countries aspire to in the area of civil space. There are also reports saying that Britain, South Korea and Japan were expected to express their concerns to China soon [BBC].

Earlier, a report in the American Aviation Week magazine said that US spy agencies had concluded that China conducted a successful test of a satellite-killing weapon on January 11.

It said China knocked out the weather satellite with a "kinetic kill vehicle" launched on board a ballistic missile. The impact occurred at more than 800 km above Earth.

In May 2005 China said it opposed all weapons in space. "Space belongs to the commonwealth of all humanity." China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told Xinhua the state news agency. "China has always held the opinion that space should be utilised for peace to benefit humankind. China opposes putting weapons into space."

Besides the unprecedented nature of this weapons test, there was no mention of it on the Chinese National Space Agency website.

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