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New Space Debris from Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapon Test

Space debris already causes major problems in space elevator design and space operations and the situation just got worse.

Aviation Week & Space Technology reporter Craig Covault says the January 22 issue will carry an article detailing reports of a "a major new Chinese military capability" in the form of an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapon.

Covault's report explains as-yet unconfirmed intelligence agency reports indicate China performed a successful ASAT weapons test at more than 500 mi. altitude destroying an aging Chinese weather satellite target with a kinetic kill vehicle launched on board a ballistic missile.the attack is believed to have occurred at about 5:28 p.m. EST Jan. 11.

"Details emerging from space sources indicate that the Chinese Feng Yun 1C (FY-1C) polar orbit weather satellite launched in 1999 was attacked by an ASAT system launched from or near the Xichang Space Center the weather satellite flew at 530 mi. altitude 4 deg. west of Xichang located in Sichuan province ... a major Chinese space launch center.

The test, if it occurred as envisioned by intelligence source, could also have left considerable space debris in an orbit used by many different satellites."

If the Chinese can shoot down satellites can they shoot down a space elevator climber?

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