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U.S. concerned about rival ‘space forces’, leaked documents show

China poses a threat to the United States in the space race and will use its ability to destroy foreign satellites in the event of an attack on Taiwan, while Russia’s space program will weaken over the next decade, according to documents leaked to the media by the U.S. intelligence community, as reported by The Washington Post.

The Russian space program was hit hard by sanctions imposed on the said country after the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but the presence and efficiency of China in space is becoming an increasing problem for the Pentagon, the U.S. newspaper said.

A secret document stated that before 2014, “Moscow reduced the weight of national space component production because excellent western technology was readily available,” and now “Moscow is trying to increase material assistance from China to sustain its space industry.”

Russia’s troubled space program “very likely will diminish during the next decade” as it faces global competition, U.S. sanctions and the rise of SpaceX, which has eaten a large chunk of Russia’s revenue, according to a leaked U.S. intelligence document.

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 26, 2023
China, which is also growing in strength, is participating in the space race. The documents state that in the event of an invasion of Taiwan, China will likely block communication with communication and intelligence satellites, destroy ground networks, and early warning ballistic missile satellites.

During a hearing in Congress last week, NASA administrator Bill Nelson reiterated his belief that the United States must send its astronauts to the moon before China does, according to The Washington Post.

“If you let China get there first, what’s to stop them from saying, ‘We’re here. This is our area. You stay out.’ That’s why I think it’s important for us to get there on an international mission and establish the rules of the road.” Nelson said.

U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall announced last week that China “has doubled the number of its satellites since the creation of the Space Forces” and currently operates over 700 of them, with 200 used for intelligence, observation, and reconnaissance purposes.

Both China and Russia have the ability to destroy satellites in orbit using rockets, The Washington Post emphasized.

“In summary, the intelligence assessment indicates the growing importance of space in modern military operations, highlighted by the conflict in Ukraine, and emphasizes the importance of the threats that military analysts have been warning about for years,” the newspaper wrote.

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