The suspicion is that China is practicing for something known as a co-orbital
attack, in which an object is sent into orbit near a target satellite, maneuvers itself into position, and then waits for an order.
There are several varieties of ASAT weapons, such as direct-ascent, co-orbital
, non-kinetic, jamming and cyber, Elleman and Toyoma explained.
In addition to the development of directed-energy weapons and satellite jammers, China is also developing direct-ascent and co-orbital
kinetic kill capabilities and has probably made progress on the anti-satellite missile system it tested in July 2014.
There may be co-orbital
objects like asteroids up in space ideal for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) to observe the Earth, according to a new paper.
He notes that Russia and China have demonstrated the ability to jam space communications, blind optical sensors with lasers, launch direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons and operate co-orbital
This can be accomplished either through a direct-ascent antisatellite (ASAT) weapon, or a co-orbital
ASAT weapon, where a satellite is placed into a similar or intercepting orbit as its target, and then maneuvered into a collision course with it.
"China is developing, and has demonstrated, a wide range of counter-space technologies to include direct-ascent, kinetic-kill vehicles, co-orbital
technologies that can disable or destroy a satellite, terrestrially-based communications jammers, and lasers that can blind or disable satellites," he said.
ASAT is carried to orbit by a space launch vehicle, then reaches its target only after one or two orbital revolutions.
One of them, R/2006 S 1, lies at the same distance as the co-orbital
moons Janus and Epimetheus, 151,500 km from the planet's center.
Two satellites that are just inside Mimas's orbit are unusual in being co-orbital
. That is, they share the same orbit, chasing each other around Saturn endlessly.
"China is testing increasingly complex co-orbital