Destroying satellites with an atomic bomb: the war plan studied by Chinese scientists
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Destroying satellites with an atomic bomb: the war plan studied by Chinese scientists

A group of Chinese scientists computer simulated an attack on spacecraft and satellites with an atomic bomb. This was revealed in an article published in the journal Nuclear Techniques.

A group of Chinese scientists simulated an attack on spacecraft and satellites with an atomic bomb. This was revealed by an article published in the journal Nuclear Techniques, according to which a team coordinated by physicist Liu Li – a member of a nuclear research institute under the control of the Chinese military – simulated explosions at different heights on the edge of space.

Although the physical processes are very complex, the new model can estimate the blast radius and extent of damage “with great reliability,” according to researchers at the Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology in Xian. A bomb with an explosive force of ten million tons, detonated at a height of 80 kilometers above the earth’s surface, could therefore disable orbiting satellites or other spacecraft.

According to the South China Morning Post, the test represents a rather explicit warning to the Starlink satellite program of the US company SpaceX of the billionaire Elon Musk, which would represent – according to an analysis conducted by the army – a threat to Chinese national security. The thousands of satellites in low orbit could in fact provide communications services to China’s enemies or destroy Chinese spacecraft.

After excluding missile attacks on individual satellites, the simulation assumes the use of nuclear weapons to damage the entire US satellite network. According to Liu Li’s team, an explosion at an altitude of 80 kilometers – where there is still air – would form an atomic cloud that would extend to an altitude of nearly 500 kilometers in five minutes and cover an area of ​​140,000 square kilometers. In that area, spacecraft and satellites could be knocked out of action by radiation or blows from debris.

The simulation – as an anonymous nuclear expert from Beijing told the South China Morning Post – does not provide any indication that China would actually employ such a weapon: it is, therefore, an absolutely remote hypothesis and far beyond occurrence. .