Washington: US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper has alleged that ‘In space, Moscow and Beijing have turned a once peaceful arena into a war-fighting domain. They have weaponised space through killer satellites, directed energy weapons and more in an effort to exploit our systems and chip away at our military advantage.’ A report released by the US Department of Defence a few days ago highlighted China’s space ambitions.
In an address to the Air Force Association at a virtual conference in the US, Defence Secretary Esper reminded everyone of Chinese and Russian activities in space. In the past few years, the two countries have taken aggressive steps to achieve space superiority. China launched the Long March-5B rocket into space in May for its space station. Prior to that, reports revealed China had developed anti-satellite missile as well. Along with expediting missions to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars, China is taking steps to set up a base in space.
Russia is apparently supporting China in its space activities. Russian companies and experts are involved in several of the Chinese missions. Besides, the space deal between both nations only confirms the claims. In July, Russia caused a sensation by testing an anti-satellite missile. The Defence Secretary has taken cognisance of the activities, which is apparent from his warning. Furthermore, Esper clearly stated that the US had initiated steps in response to Chinese and Russian space activities.
Defence Secretary Mark Esper informed that ‘The US Department of Defence is making a significant investment in advanced technologies for dominance in space. These include hypersonic weapons, directed energy system and autonomous technology’. US President Donald Trump has taken the initiative to step up US space capabilities. Trump’s decisions to form Space Force as the sixth unit of the US armed forces and make provision for it of over $70 billion only go to prove it.
Apart from the US, the UK had also taken notice of Russia and China’s activities in space and had issued a warning over it two months ago. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that ‘The risk China and Russia pose to the peaceful utilisation of space is growing. Therefore, Britain will be making crucial changes to its space policy and respond to Russian and Chinese misadventure henceforth.’