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Chinese Lasers Blind US Satelites

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the do-not-look-directly-into-laser-beam-with-your-remaining-eye dept.

739

SniperClops writes, "China has fired high-power lasers at U.S. spy satellites flying over its territory in what experts see as a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft, according to sources." The article mentions the reluctance of the U.S. administration to talk about this "asymmetric" effort by the Chinese military.

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739 comments

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blind my eyes too (5, Funny)

xming (133344) | more than 7 years ago | (#16226989)

I got "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

A solvable problem? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227641)

Filters. Laser beams, as all geeks know, shine at a particular and very narrow frequency. Yes, "tunable dye lasers" can shift frequency across a range, but they don't have the power ratings of a CO2 laser. So suitably filter-equipped spy satellites should be able to cope.

Seeing Red (3, Funny)

axonis (640949) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227009)

I bet the lasers are red in colour ;)

What I really want to know... (5, Insightful)

Tsagadai (922574) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227019)

As does alot of the world not in the united states but still grounded under it's definition of right and wrong is why can't a foreign self governing nation control its own airspace and space space. If I built a spy satellite and orbitted it over the united states I would be a terrorist and bombed in seconds. Why the difference for china?

Re:What I really want to know... (2, Insightful)

mattgoldey (753976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227079)

Because it's DIFFERENT when we do it! Right?

We can have nukes, but North Korea and Iran can't.

Re:What I really want to know... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227289)

this is quite possibly the worst example you could have made here. I mean do you SERIOUSLY want North Korea and Iran to have nukes? Despite how much you might dislike the US or its current administration, it is far more safe for the nukes to be in our hands than the countries you've mentioned. so yes, in this case, it is ok for us and not ok for some other people.

Re:What I really want to know... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227317)


Because it's DIFFERENT when we do it! Right?

Why, yes, it is totally different.

Here's a simple test. Who is legitimately afraid the US will be launching nukes anytime soon? Outside of some anti-US lefty nutjobs, probably nobody. Now, who have reasonable fears of North Korea and Iran launching nukes? Israel and South Korea come to mind.

Now that I've totally destroyed you, mods, please mod parent down as idiotic. I love obliterating you moonbats.

Re:What I really want to know... (2, Insightful)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227363)

Yeah, but Iran and North Korea are run in the wrong way. Iran for instance has organised religion controlling politics and North Korea is run by the spoiled, incompetant son of a former President.

But seriously, no matter how much I might bag out America on /. it IS different, there are worse Presidents than Bush on this earth, worse regiemes than the Republican party and I think the Iranian theocracy who puts a cleric in charge of the country and the DPRK's isolationism which is so feeble that the country doesn't have electricity both fit into that catagory.

Re:What I really want to know... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227433)

"Iran for instance has organised religion controlling politics..."

How is this any different to the United States? One nation under God?

Re:What I really want to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227469)

*Whooooooooosh*

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

Peden (753161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227655)

"Yeah, but Iran and North Korea are run in the wrong way" Yes, they are Dictatorships. Rather a weapon in the hands of many people in a democratic nation, than in the hands of a single, or group of madmen blinded by their own views of the world.

Re:What I really want to know... (4, Funny)

LittleBigLui (304739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227365)

[The USA] can have nukes, but North Korea and Iran can't.


A theocracy that needs nukes certainly has a faith problem. (Not to mention that whole witches in ponds handing out swords thing.)

Why Iran and Korea can't have nukes (4, Insightful)

mikep.maine (585648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227685)

I am not a fan of nuclear weapons anywhere, but this is a dangerous world with people who *literally* want to send us to hell or to see our redeemer. They will buy and use nukes -- and Iran and Korea are all too willing to give or sell them away. In the business where others are willing to kill us, I want to be working to disarm them, period. The United States has few options -- and both the Europeans and Asian nations that are not China have largely stayed out of fray hoping once again to let teh US carry the burden of disarming. A united front would really sincerely help the world. It would even help the Iranians and Koreans who as a people would rather plan crops than seed nuclear bombs.

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

Mjlner (609829) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227695)

"A theocracy that needs nukes certainly has a faith problem."

So why, then, does the US need nukes?

Re:What I really want to know... (4, Interesting)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227087)

partly I agree, but how far up does China own the space above it? If Mars is over the UK at the moment does the Queen own that too? At what point does it stop belonging to the earth and start belonging to everyone/everything in the universe? What if these satelites were above that point?

Re:What I really want to know... (5, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227381)

It surely may sound ironic in the case of China, but : a sovereign nation has a right to privacy.

Re:What I really want to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227407)

but how far up does China own the space above it? If Mars is over the UK at the moment does the Queen own that too?

Mars is not in Earth orbit.

How is this interesting? (4, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227413)

A spy satellite is a near object, Mars isn't. A spy satellite was made by someone on Earth for the exact purpose of invading the privacy of someone else on Earth not subject to the same laws as the manufacturer, and it seems to me that the someone else has the right to disable it with proportionate force at the time when it is trying to invade their privacy. Mars is not a human manufactured object...

Of course, reading my own definition, this would justify Afghans and Iraqis seeking to expel the Americans and the British, just as it justified the French Resistance in WW2, and the American Colonists in the 1770s.

At what point is the present US administration going to face up the fact that it is the self-appointed global hegemon and that five and a half billion people disagree with that?

Re:What I really want to know... (5, Insightful)

LittleBigLui (304739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227497)

What if these satelites were above that point?


What's the problem with the chinese shining their lasers at space that nobody owns anyway?

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227631)

If Mars is over the UK at the moment does the Queen own that too? At what point does it stop belonging to the earth and start belonging to everyone/everything in the universe?

When it's just out of range of our missles. If we can take it, then it's ours. If we can't, then it's theirs...until we can. Just like it has always been. It's the way of the universe. Might makes right.

Re:What I really want to know... (2, Insightful)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227703)

It's not terribly clear where "space" begins but international treaties/law [wikipedia.org] states that no one owns it. It's widely adopted enough that it is as good as enforced. The Wiki article gives the one I found most often - the lowest altitude that one can place an object in a stable orbit (personally I would have gone with one of the 'spheres and a harder altitude - personally I see "space" as a lack of atmosphere not ability to orbit the planet).

Generally speaking it is more like international waters. Regardless of what people here who have an inability to rationally think when it comes to the US say, other countries routinely fly spy satellites (along with many other ones - some of which I am sure are "dual purpose") over us. Though since most are "friendly" no one seems to really care. Not to mention we are pretty good about hiding things from airiel phtography by now. As of right now the number of countries that can field a satellite is pretty low, especially one with the technology to be a "spy satellite".

Though as time goes on it will get to be more important. For one thing orbital space isn't really that big and a small handfull of countries have most of it now. I suspect that will be a much larger issue - too much is done underground and in highly distributed places now. Not that the intel is worthless, but as we saw in Iraq it's not as cut and dry as it used to be (it becomes much more useful in war - great ability to see troop buildup and movement).

This is being treated just as international waters would be - anything goes that you can politically get away with. Even the article doesn't have much of a reaction from the US govt over it. The article's author assumes the part about not angering China because of trade relations and dealing with NK and Iran (much as some highly modded posts here are ranting about the US calling are interjecting thier own ideas as to the US govt's motivation) - all the govt has said is silence.

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227091)

Which is probably why there's been no loud official condemnation. Like you say if the US was to start flying over Chinese aurspace nobody would be too surprised if they retaliated so this is just a low level tit for tat that's doing no serious harm to either side as yet.

Re:What I really want to know... (0, Flamebait)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227095)

Because all those chinese are nothing but evil communists! duh..

They're against everything we stand for and hate that we're free! NUKE IRAN- err.. CHINA!

China Is a Potential Trade Partner (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227105)

To answer your question, RTFA:
Pentagon officials, however, have kept quiet regarding China's efforts as part of a Bush administration policy to keep from angering Beijing, which is a leading U.S. trading partner and seen as key to dealing with onerous states like North Korea and Iran.
That's why.

Read the rest of it. It's an interesting article, but some of these statements come off as revenue generating news (and considering this is Defense News, it's no surprise).

China has fired high-power lasers at U.S. spy satellites flying over its territory in what experts see as a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft, according to sources.
They forget to mention that we would probably do the same (if not worse) to deter spy satellites over our own country. They also don't address the concept of whether or not a country has a righ to its own privacy here. I think we would want privacy for our country and should not be surprised or angered to find our attempts thwarted when spying on other countries.
Russian jamming systems are publicly known -- the Air Force destroyed such a system deployed to Iraq to keep American GPS guided bombs from finding their targets during the 2003. The site was destroyed by GPS guided bombs.
Well, that jamming station must not have worked well and I highly doubt it was put there by the Russians. I cannot think of a clear motive for it. Probably sold as surplus or exchanged for payment by a disgruntled soldier and found its way to Iraq.

So we'll either change our standards or give the military a special encrypted standard. The cat and mouse game will begin between the US wanting to see what China's doing and China not wanting the US to see what they're doing. Frankly, I don't really give a damn. China has some bad leaders and some severe problems but they're more internal than anything.

You'll find at the bottom of the article:
As for China specifically, Thompson said the country has a right to defend itself.
That's right, they do. So this isn't really news so much as "Country X Defends Itself Against Country Y" except that Country Y is the only country that thinks it's hot shit and that the world must reveal all and revolve around Country Y. Also, our leader has stated that non-compliance means you are with the terrorists and you're against us.

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (3, Insightful)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227239)

But the combination of China's efforts and advances in Russian satellite jamming capabilities illustrate vulnerabilities to the U.S. space network are at the core of U.S. Air Force plans to develop new space architectures and highly classified systems, according to sources.

As a non-American, I find it problematic that a spy-satellite "attacked" in that way over a sovereign third country is seen as a vulnerability to the U.S. space network.
This report is suggesting that the U.S. have the right to spy on anyone anywhere, everywhere; while the rest of the world *has* to accept that...of course no one should dare to do the same thing to the U.S. and dare you spy on us!
You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile!

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227345)

but it is a vulnerability to the U.S. space network. It doesn't mean more than this: the US may want to redesign their satellites to be able to somehow avoid this problem in the future.

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227415)

Well, that jamming station must not have worked well and I highly doubt it was put there by the Russians. I cannot think of a clear motive for it. Probably sold as surplus or exchanged for payment by a disgruntled soldier and found its way to Iraq.

You're kidding, right? I'm pretty sure the two generals Putin sent to secure Baghdad might have had something to do with it, possibly in exchange for some of Saddam's oil vouchers.
Or do you believe folks are all fundamentally honest.

FWIW, this is OLD news about satellites. I've theorized that the Skytel IV thing in the 90's was due to Chinese experiments with the nav systems they lifted from the rocket Clinton launched over there despite Warren Christopher's warnings.

But I'm crazy that way.

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (1, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227425)

Well, that jamming station must not have worked well and I highly doubt it was put there by the Russians. I cannot think of a clear motive for it. Probably sold as surplus or exchanged for payment by a disgruntled soldier and found its way to Iraq.

Actually the stationS worked VERY well. They were targetted by laser guided bombs. The Russians also provided plans, parts, and know-how on how to assemble hand held versions which were also effective. France and Germany also provided technology consulting and some weapons...which is also why they, like Russia, didn't want the US to attack. They knew it would become difficult to get paid if the US destroys the country.

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227501)

Actually the stationS worked VERY well. They were targetted by laser guided bombs. The Russians also provided plans, parts, and know-how on how to assemble hand held versions which were also effective. France and Germany also provided technology consulting and some weapons...which is also why they, like Russia, didn't want the US to attack. They knew it would become difficult to get paid if the US destroys the country.
Do you often accuse three allies of the United States with aiding an enemy? You wouldn't happen to have ... oh, say a source to cite for this, would you?

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227477)

Hey, America-Hater: Go live in another country that's not so "hot shit" - you and the rest of the self-loathing liberals who would have us defending the country with spitballs as Zel Miller so deftly pointed out at the last Republican convention.

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227487)

I imagine the Chinese defense media states something along the lines of "victorious test firing of blinding lasers defeats imperialist yankee satellites and frees our airspace (now comrades, we can work you to death in the sweatshops and rice paddies without anyone knowing *cough* seeing)".

Regardless of who countries X and Y are, if you were the military industrial complex of country X and put GPS and other satellites into orbit, wouldn't you expect to see everything? Country Y may think it's defending itself but Countries A-Z would be doing the same as X if they'd put the satellites up. Only when you're not X, it's so easy to just squeal. Anyone who says they wouldn't deploy or defend the satellites, having the ability, is deluded.

Re:China Is a Potential Trade Partner (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227721)

"I highly doubt it was put there by the Russians. I cannot think of a clear motive for it. "

Oh yeah... Russians never sell military hardware to foreign countries. Man... what fairy tale land are you from?

Re:What I really want to know... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227125)

why can't a foreign self governing nation control its own airspace and space space.

Ummm, ya know, there are treaties that cover space & satellites? And, ya know, attacking satellites is not allowed?

Air space and "space space" as you put it, are quite different legally.

If I built a spy satellite and orbitted it over the united states I would be a terrorist and bombed in seconds. Why the difference for china?

Really? You're an idiot.

The Russians & other countries have spy satellites & they aren't being bombed.

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

us7892 (655683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227179)

There are several "known" spy satellites that pass over the United States. Some of which belong to our European allies. That doesn't mean they can't spy on us. Oh, they "turn the moff" when they pass over North America.

Re:What I really want to know... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227151)

There should be no difference for China (i.e. the US must not do this either), but blinding satellites is still wrong, because the world doesn't revolve around Earth. There is a limit to the sovereign territory of nation states. For example, the territory of the US does not extend over the sea until it meets the territory of another country. It ends some miles off the coast. Same for airspace: At some distance from the surface of the Earth, the territorial rule of the country ends. Beyond that it's "international space". And just like you can't sail the seven seas and sink other ships or blind other captains at your whim, you can't do so in space.

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

Paul Rose (771894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227257)

the world doesn't revolve around Earth
OW! I think a lazer just blinded my mind's eye...

Re:What I really want to know... (5, Funny)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227295)

the world doesn't revolve around Earth.

I cannot tell if that was really deep, or really dumb.

Finkployd

Re:What I really want to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227453)

I could have said the universe doesn't revolve around Earth, but I intentionally used the human centered "world" concept which isn't strictly limited to this planet. The world is the scope of human experience. Earth is just this planet.

You clearly did not get the memo. (2, Funny)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227153)

It is obvious to any red-blooded, patriotic, Jesus-loving American that we are the only source of righteousness on earth and it is our God-given duty to use His power to advance our cause of spreading His holiness throughout the world and trample over the devil-worshipping heathens. Therefore, what we do is good and what all the godless nations of the world that are not America do is wrong. Thank you, and God bless.

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227167)

The article said that the White House pushed the Pentagon to limit discussion of the matter to one line in their report acknowledging the capability for political reasons. It doesn't sound as if the US is deaf to the notion of China's rights in this respect.

So, what I want to know is why you think that the US has responded in a manner that questions this right?

Unless you're asking why the US put the satellite up there to begin with, which is simply asinine. Countries spy on each other, it's a fact of life. There are Chinese spies in the US and we know about them too.

The difference between you and China is that despite the obviously aggressive nature of Chinese spy activity, they have an army and diplomatic relations with the US. You on the other hand, have neither.

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227199)

Because US is a force of good (sarcasm). (Or perhaps "a strength of good" sounds better, as in "we will meet force with strength").

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227267)

I don't think China has any problem with the physical presence of the Satellites. It's the pictures that they are taking that they have the problem with. I think china has every right to do what is necessary to prevent outside nations from taking pictures of secret things that china doesn't want them taking pictures of. I think the US would probably be smart doing the same thing. Nations should be able to protect their own secrets.

Umm... because space is free according to UN? (3, Informative)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227357)

According to the UN Treaty on Outer Space [unoosa.org] (also here [wikipedia.org] at wikipedia), of which both China and the US are signatories, "outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means". So it is not "chinese space or airspace". Attacking a satellite (or blinding it) is akin to doing the same to a ship on the open seas. It is a violation on the freedom of other nations and a violation of the neutrality of space. It's just one step short of piracy or an act or war.

And BTW, other nations including China and the Soviet Union (now Russia) have been sending spy sattelites over the US for decades without the US attacking them (although we have plans to do so in time of war).

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

shrykk (747039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227379)

why can't a foreign self governing nation control its own airspace and space space.

It's own space space? Are you seriously suggesting that we consider the entire volumes of the universe extruded from the surface of the Earth to infinity to belong to the nation below?
I guess that could work - we would 'let' all the other alien species live in the space above international waters - but only if the Earth were stationary. (Hmm... do I need to point out that it isn't?). Do the Chinese get to launch an attack on Alpha Centauri when it's 'above' China?

Re:What I really want to know... (5, Informative)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227503)

*** If I built a spy satellite and orbitted it over the united states I would be a terrorist and bombed in seconds.***

The Russians operated a multitude of surveillance satellites over the US in the 1960s-1980s. They still do I believe. As do the Chinese. As do, I believe, others. Almost all reconisiance sattelites should be able to "spy" on the US should their owners be so inclined.

If anyone cares enough to try to figure out exactly how many surveillence satellites are in orbit, here's a link to the Union Of Concerned Scientists sattelite database [ucsusa.org]

Re:What I really want to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227521)

How is this insightful? Satellites fly over the whole earth all the time and I've never heard of a case of anyone being bombed from it.

Insightful?

Re:What I really want to know... (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227535)

I'll give a nickel to the first person that can diagram that first sentence...

Temporary blindness (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227047)

From TFA:

acknowledges China has the ability to blind U.S. satellites, thanks to a powerful ground-based laser capable of firing a beam of light at an optical reconnaissance satellite to keep it from taking pictures as it passes overhead.

So its a bit like saturating a camera with light so it can't take good pictures, but once it moves on it should be OK.

Re:Temporary blindness (1)

drb_chimaera (879110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227325)

Surely that depends on the intensity of the beam?

Re:Temporary blindness (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227707)

In a word, yes. But I doubt China is going to nuke one of our satelites in an effor to keep our eyes shut when we pass by. They don't want to start anything, and if you RTFA, you'll see that we don't want to either. Also, the article mentions that the satelites that China was spotlighting are rather large and also about 30 years old. Very old tech. The US has been wanting to launch a large network of smaller satelites for a while now, and now that they're giving money to NASA again that may happen.


China may be able to temporarily disable those too, but I'm not concerned about that. What I'm concerned about is my government being able to defend itself the best it can.

Other applications? (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227437)

So its a bit like saturating a camera with light so it can't take good pictures, but once it moves on it should be OK.

So can I get one of these lasers for my car to blind the speed radar cameras?

Re:Temporary blindness (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227493)

It's possible to permanently damage, possibly even blind an image sensor with a very intense light.

Re:Temporary blindness (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227573)

It would have to more along the lines, of tripping sensors in the camera and closing of the lens to protect the equipment from damage (likely built in to protect from stray reflections in space).

It would still be seen as a fairly aggressive move, an active attack on orbital equipment, only one step short of permanent damage. Think of border situations, where guards from one side of the border were temporarily blinding guards from the other side of the border (they can look across the border). It is far more aggressive move than putting up a fence, or camouflage, it actually represents a cross border attack.

The only reason the current administration let it slide was because it did not suit the corporations and their Chinese based manufacturing centres, which enable them to put as much downward pressure as possible on US wages (well at least the workers, not the executives, funny no one ever talks about wage parity for executives).

The selling out of a country piece by piece (it always seems small and inconsequential at first), by people who it seems just really don't care, unless a represents a excellent photo shoot opportunity.

Re:Temporary blindness (1)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227723)

Depends on the beam power. First you dazzle; you flare out the CCD obscuring any detail. More power, you trip protective circuits that tell the satellite "close off the shutter or the CCD's gonna bake" (Yes, there's not a 'shutter' in the conventional sense, but whatever, put an opaque cover over the lens assemply). More power still, you can fry the CCD.

This was the first or second. Nothing new here, except that China's involved. The Soviet Union did this to US satellites on several occasions, no big deal.

And for those who are, no doubt, going to decry the "weaponization" of space, as if there's something holy and sacred about space as compared to the sky or the oceans, again, nothing new here. We had a successfully-tested anti-satellite missile system back in the 80s, and the Soviet Union had not only anti-satellite satellites, but also an orbital battle station armed with lasers capable of blinding satellites. Yes, they actually launched it, but a malfunction caused it to deorbit shortly.

Nothing new.

so China hired Dr. Evil (3, Funny)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227061)

For it's national defense program? The whole "do everything with lasers" mindset seems to fit.

Where's Austin Powers when you need him?

What would we expect them to do? (3, Insightful)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227071)

Well, good for them....I guess. I would imagine that the US would do the same to Chinese spy satellites (if they had any - which I don't know and don't feel like googling), so why be surprised when the Chinese do it? It seems to me that this is just a case of the Chinese government acting in the interests of it's own national security. This may be news, but it should not be surprising.

Re:What would we expect them to do? (2, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227109)

Exactly right. It's all too easy to look upon a foreign nation trying to prevent surveillance of their activities as being an aggressive act but turn those tables and ask yourself how you'd feel if US airspace was being overflown (although it probably is..) by Chinese Sats watching military bases, the Skunkworks etc. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

So that idea about.. (1, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227077)

grounding all the Blackbirds and relying on Satallites was a really good one.
To be fair though, I'm guessing there are SR-71 replacements (Aurora?) busy doing a similar job but we just don't know about it yet.

Re:So that idea about.. (1, Interesting)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227139)

The SRs didn't stay grounded very long. I lived near dulles airport in VA (newar DC) where they brought one out for the new air and space museum. Less than 6 months later it went back into service.

BTW, I have been led to believe the Aurora is at least 2 generations old now :) Maybe about 3 more generations and it will be declassified like the blackbirds.

Re:So that idea about.. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227249)

You're probably right about Aurora. I used to work with a guy who was an ex-boeing tech who had worked on one of their stealth efforts 15-20 years ago. He told me about some pretty crazy stuff that was supposed to exist even back then. Normally I'd have put it down to bs but he really wasn't the sort of person to invent stuff or say things for fun, quite frighteningly straight really.

Re:So that idea about.. (3, Funny)

Nevynxxx (932175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227677)

ex-boeing tech who had worked on one of their stealth efforts...he really wasn't the sort of person to invent stuff

Is that why he was "ex"?

I know, that is nothing like what you menat, but it made me giggle.

You can only attack what you see (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227489)

grounding all the Blackbirds and relying on Satallites was a really good one.

Be assured that the SR-71 was replaced with a more capable spacecraft. It is likely that the Chinese only shined lasers on the satellites they could see [globalsecurity.org] . Meanwhile the US has nasty laser weapons [fas.org] of its own.

red blue or white? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227089)

looks like it worked...

Poked in the eye (2, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227107)

TFA: "If you keep looking over the fence at you neighbor's back yard, you're going to get poked in the eye"

I like this :-)

Also Chinese defence program is called "Assassin's Mace".. it's straight out of a badly dubbed movie!

Re:Poked in the eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227281)

Heeey, Flaanders! Look here!

At last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227121)

I was getting so tired of those satelite scans detecting my Super Hackers.

Eventually... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227123)

...The Chinese will be in position to tell us what we can and cannot do.

This is a very serious development. The Chinese can launch satelites, put men into orbit, have nuclear weapons, are financing most of our balance or payments thanks to Bush

The other day, their defense minister asked the US to "shut up!"

Pretty soon, they will stare us in the face and say..."Do whatever you will...knowing full well that we just cannot!" They just won't care. May be Bush should threaten to bomb them.

Re:Eventually... (5, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227371)

The Chinese can launch satelites, put men into orbit, have nuclear weapons, are financing most of our balance or payments thanks to Bush

Honestly, did the world just begin for many of you people in 2000? Look I'm no fan of Bush, but it is not like prior to 2000 the Chinese held none of our assets, the Islamic extremists loved us, and the federal government held civil liberties in high regard. You know, EVERYTHING is not Bush's fault.

Finkployd

Re:Eventually... (1)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227423)

The other day, their defense minister asked the US to "shut up!"


"Suck my tiny yellow balls!"

Re:Eventually... (3, Insightful)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227485)

Welcome to the whacko world of international sovereignty!

So, without calling me an American hater, please; what would be so wrong with the chinese launching satelites, putting men into orbit and having nuclear weapons? Oh, and by the way, whos' fault is that chinese are financing USAs balances?

As someone said it before, this is no news at all. The novelity here is that China used laser to disable satelites, but i bet a lot of countries have done similar (if not worst) in the past.

Re:Eventually... (1)

wubboy (96276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227507)

The Chinese can launch satelites : Thanks to Clinton, http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/1/14 /143258.shtml [newsmax.com]

put men into orbit : http://www.google.com/search?hs=Xcu&hl=en&lr=&clie nt=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q= space+technology+stolen+by+china&btnG=Search [google.com]

have nuclear weapons: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&client=fire fox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=nuclear +weapons%2C+technology+stolen+by+china&btnG=Search [google.com]

are financing most of our balance or payments thanks to Bush : U.S. Treasury statistics indicate that, at the end of 2004, foreigners held 44% of federal debt held by the public. : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._public_debt [wikipedia.org]

I'd make some spiffy comment here, regarding how FOS you are, but it's just not worth any more time.

Re:Eventually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227593)

...are financing most of our balance or payments thanks to Bush

The growth of China to an economic power did not happen overnight. Continued trade with China, despite attempts to tie trade to mitigating its human rights situation (e.g., Tianamen Square 1989), has been going on for at least two decades - well before the current administration. Here:

http://www.itds.treas.gov/mfn.html [treas.gov]

If you want to read up on the impact of the Most Favored Nation trading status, you will find a solid evaluation here:

http://www.fas.org/man/crs/92-094.htm [fas.org]

Check the facts first before making sweeping announcements. Don't let your Bush Derangement Syndrome get the better of you.

History repeats (1)

Oxygen99 (634999) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227157)

Not that I'm denying the right for the Chinese to keep their secrets safe from the NSA, CIA or whomever wants to peek at their secrets but it seems somewhat apposite that this story is posted a day after this one [slashdot.org] . In fifty years time are we going to be praising a Colonel Hong for saving the world from another imminent disaster or are we actually going to learn something this time round?

Did you ever (4, Funny)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227159)

Did you ever see a friggin' shark in a Google Earth picture? No?

Now you know why.

I do this in Walmart with my lasar pointer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227187)

You have to hit the lens dead on center however.... to overwhelm the ccd. Try it in a conveinence store where they have a monitor setup to show people they are being monitored...

But seriously... (2, Funny)

eko33 (982179) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227197)

I bet that laser was mounted on the top of a sharks head...

amazing how much they can go away with (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227207)

The future of this country with ACPAC operating on Capitol Hill terrifies me.

Humour (3, Funny)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227215)

It's good to see a bit of humour creep into these articles:
Russian jamming systems are publicly known -- the Air Force destroyed such a system deployed to Iraq to keep American GPS guided bombs from finding their targets during the 2003. The site was destroyed by GPS guided bombs.

Nothing that new here (2, Interesting)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227235)

It's not too widely known, but the Russians apparently did something similar to a US IR detecting Early Warning sattelite several decades ago. That one got about a paragraph on page A-26 of a few large newspapers.

The big deal here is that this is yet another message to the folks who want to spend hundreds of billions on satellite weapons. Put 'em up there, and someone will spend a lot less money to disable them when the need arrises.

Space based weapons systems are not "siezing the high ground". They are more like climbing a tree with a sack full of rocks. They have some advantages, but overall against a serious opponent, they are a poor and expensive strategy.

Re:Nothing that new here (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227359)

The Soviets did it alot more than once, this went on for at least 15 years. But contrary to popular fiction the sattelites seem to always recover. It just causes disruptions not failure. So far. Someone will eventually come up with a ground based weapon that will destroy a sattelite (not a missle).

Re:Nothing that new here (1)

salec (791463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227635)

In fact, publicizing this report that should be held classified matter looks more like PR for demanding more money for R&D of new generation of recon sats with new design philosophy:

Considering some present civil and amateur (well, academic) efforts for sending microsatelites to outer space, it is quite possible that soon there will be an amassment of small space equipment.

Now, trying to detect and "blind" a multitude of minute objects in orbit will prove hard and they can be launched in dozens or more with single space mission.

The other rant in TFA (one about "when you launch them, there is no way to upgrade them") simply calls for trading quality (endurance) for low price x large number. Strap a simple short term energy source on them, let them die out, fall and burn on reentry, regularily send batches of new, improved ones with larger revision numbers...

The other possibility is that it simply doesn't work, but Americans have detected the attempt and now are faking beeing seriously disabilitated in order to let Chinese burn some more cash on a dead end research or induce a false sense of security, to assure surprize when and if it will matter.

China blind spot in Google Earth (1)

SanderDJ (1004445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227245)

Don't let any China man complain about bad coverage!

Um, they can hit the ones they can see... (4, Interesting)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227315)

...which are likely left as decoys for the other dozen or so invisible ones...the reconnaissance version of a honeypot. The US has had stealth technology for a long time...aerodynamics is what took so long to build the F117. Since aerodynamics doesn't matter in space, I think it is likely that the satellites put up in the 70s where probably stealthy. Highly directional, bursty, spread spectrum downlinks would make it very difficult to detect. Again, that's 70s-era technology.

The $500 billion dollar annual defense budget is being spent somewhere. I would hope some of it was put into spy satellites that are awful easy to overlook.

Re:Um, they can hit the ones they can see... (5, Insightful)

Woek (161635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227633)

I don't think so. First of all, they have plenty of other issues to worry about when designing the exterior of a satellite, like reflective material for thermal management, or solar cells for generating power. Secondly, I would imagine that the trajectories of all satellites are available to all agencies that launch stuff into space. Imaging a soyuz crashing into one of those massive spy satellites with a relative velocity of several kilometers per second...

Hmmmmm... (1)

drewsup (990717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227321)

So let me get this straight. The US sends spy satellites over another country, and they temporarily disable it from spying on them.And we are supposed to be what? (outraged?) Kinda makes you wonder sometimes who's in the right.

Arms race and technology (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227327)

Not surprisingly the arms race continues.
It shouldn't be surprising to anyone that all countries continue military R&D.
It hits the news that the US has Drones flying over and dropping bombs in Afghanistan, but it is somehow slashdot front page news that the Chinese are doing a high tech version of blinding a video camera with a flashlight?

What about the man portable observation drones, guided rockets and robots?

Likely this is a test.... (1)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227335)

To ensure that if China decides it want's to cut off all trade and access from the world, it can even keep space-spying from revealing it's activites. Frankly, it's a very strategic move. If I were in the pentagon, I'd start doing threat assesments and invasion options right now. Just in case. Kind of like we did before WWII.

BFD (2, Interesting)

SengirV (203400) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227395)

I know this will turn into an anti-American thread, but what is the big deal? This was a dance the US and USSR carried on for decades. If anything, it will now force the US scientists back to the drawn table to come up with a different solution to accomplish the same thing.

If anything, your reaction to this story should tell you where you stand with respect to the US.

More power to China, I know this will force the US to improve/upgrade it's space efforts. And that, to me, is a good thing.

Did my laser hit your satellite? Oops... (2, Insightful)

smoor (961352) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227421)

If the lasers aren't "breaking" the satellites, than I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with what China is doing. While its certainly in our best interests to see what China is up to, its in theirs to stop us. Regardless of whether or not we are "legally" in their airspace or not, if they point a laser in space and it happens to blind our satellite, than I can't see that they've done anything wrong.

If they blew it up, that would be something else.

My favorite line in the article ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16227445)

"Russian jamming systems are publicly known -- the Air Force destroyed such a system deployed to Iraq to keep American GPS guided bombs from finding their targets during the 2003. The site was destroyed by GPS guided bombs." Guess the jamming system didn't work so well.

A couple of thoughts occur to me. 1 - The Chinese are damaging someone else's property. There's no international law that says you can't look over the other guy's fence. If I take a picture of my neighbor sunbathing and her husband breaks my camera, then the cops will charge him, not me. 2 - Causing trouble for the other guy, without direct confrontation, is what the cold war was all about. 3 - Unlike the Soviets, the Chinese trade with us and need our market. We have ceded our manufacturing industry to them. We don't have to do that. If they play hardball, we should shut our borders to their exports. We should do that now while we still have the capability to re-spawn our manufacturing industry. Being totally dependent on the Chinese for our manufactured goods means that they can do anything they want to us.

Suggested Reading (1)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227451)

I would suggest that before people point about China's right to protect the space above them, that those people would look at TREATY ON PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE ACTIVITIES OF STATES IN THE EXPLORATION AND USE OF OUTER SPACE, INCLUDING THE MOON AND OTHER CELESTIAL BODIES (1967) [islandone.org] and AGREEMENT RELATING TO THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE ORGANIZATION "INTELSAT" (with annexes and Operating Agreement)(1971) [islandone.org] . We blew up a derelict russian satellite with a F15 firing a special missle in the '80s and it caused all sorts of issues, so there is international precident on this being a bad thing. In addition, all we have to do is take pictures from the 'side' view or develop 'stealthy' satillites.

Cold War II (0)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227471)

Electric Boogaloo.

could this be a bluff? (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227481)

OK, we've heard from the report that the Chinese have tried to blind a satellite. Until we can actually see the resulting images - which will simply never happen, how can we or the chinese know that they've succeeded in stopping photos being taken.

If I was in the US spying game and I know that someone was trying to blind my satellites, I'd say "Oh no, you've stopped me photographing your secret installations" even if the attempts were unsuccessful. That way the target thinks they've stopped the spy satellites, whereas in practice, the lasers may be completely ineffectual.

Until the Chinese spies can get hold of genuine, spoiled, satellite photos (that weren't staged/planted) they cannot be sure they have suceeded.

Reliable news source? (1)

sr. taquito (996805) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227491)

Is this really a reliable news source? I am really unfamiliar with DefenseNews.com and the site looks to be little more than a home-run website that any of us could put up. It looks like a reaction to all the conspiracy theorist "news" sites like http://www.911sharethetruth.com/ [911sharethetruth.com] .... what do you all think?

Like Terrorists Blinding Pilots? (1)

stealie72 (246899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227639)

Remember a while ago when all of the "news" outlets were talking about al queda using lasers to blind pilots and crash planes? Is this another one of those? Could laser be one of those things that makes news people salivate, like internet, child porn, or video game violence?

Seriously, if the chinese are indeed doing this, it seems like an awfully impressive technological feat. I just wish they weren't doing it. Satellites are really good at keeping the peace, because they let you know what your enemy is doing so you're not making up dragons in your mind.

In Communist China (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227671)

Lasers blind ... oh, dammit.

What Most of you seem to be missing... (2, Insightful)

Spritzer (950539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227687)

...is that no one is saying "The Chinese are wrong". Not one person quoted in the article has said that. The article never suggests that. Being in the remote sensing industry, I find this article interesting, but beyond the technical interest of the subject it's no more exciting, important inflamatory, or pompous than a sports report. It's no different than a "Saints defense finds a way to shut down Vick" headline. No one is wrong and no one is claiming anyone is wrong. Someone has just added a new play to the playbook. So, stop with all the "The US thinks it's the shit and the Chinese are victims of spying" crap.

The title is wrong (1)

CXI (46706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16227735)

It remains unclear how many times the ground-based laser was tested against U.S. spacecraft or whether it was successful.

End sensationalism now!
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