American and Chinese satellites set up orbital “cat and mouse”

Shortly after the release of a pair of Chinese satellites into geostationary orbit, the American device — inspector USA 270 made a course correction that sent it to meet with new neighbors. In turn, the Chinese satellites carried out a counter-maneuver.

Confrontation between the US and China satellites

At the end of December, China launched a pair of Shiyan-12-01 and Shiyan-12-02 spacecraft into geostationary orbit. In the official message, they were called experimental devices designed to conduct research on the space environment and test relevant technologies. However, according to many experts, in fact they are inspection satellites designed to track other spacecraft and inspect them.

Shortly after Shiyan-12-01 and Shiyan-12-02 entered the specified orbit, satellite spotters drew attention to the maneuver performed by the American USA 270 spacecraft. It was launched in 2016, and it is also an inspector satellite. The USA was sent to intercept the Shiyan.

For some time, USA-270 was approaching a pair of Chinese satellites. Then, according to COMSPOC Corp., which is engaged in tracking near-Earth space, they performed a counter-maneuver, going in different directions. “Shiyan-12-02” at the same time took a position between the Sun and USA 270. Thus, it got the opportunity to observe the illuminated side of the American intelligence officer and complicated the task of tracking itself. It is not yet known whether USA 270 will undertake any retaliatory maneuvers.

Secret Space Battles

In recent years, the grouping of geostationary satellites has increased markedly. If in 2017 their list included 480 active satellites, then by 2022 the figure has increased to 589 satellites. They play an important role in the global economy by providing communications, broadcasting and providing weather data.

The geostationary orbit is also actively used by the military of the leading powers — both for data transmission and for tracking satellites of a “potential enemy” by performing rendezvous maneuvers. This allows both photographing spacecraft and intercepting their signals. It is possible that some geostationary satellites, if necessary, can be used to disable other devices.

Until recently, activity in geostationary orbit remained hidden from the public. However, the appearance of private companies engaged in monitoring the position of satellites gave us the opportunity to learn about orbital “cat — mice” like those in which USA 270 and Shiyan-12 recently participated. With the further militarization of outer space, most likely we will hear a lot more news about such space battles.

Recall that recently the US military called the Moon a possible place of military confrontation.

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