China’s Moon Missions Could Threaten US Satellites: Pentagon
“China’s lunar probes may one day threaten critical U.S. satellites, said one of the military’s top experts on space threats. In May, China launched the Chang’e 4 lunar relay satellite on an unusual trajectory: a lunar swing-by that pulled the satellite in a wide arc before settling it into a ‘parking orbit’ at Lagrangian 2 on the moon’s far side. The Chinese government has said the mission is part of a four-stage plan to build a moon base. ‘We hope to start the construction of the [robot-manned] lunar base around 2025 and realize a manned landing on the moon around 2030,’ Zhao Xiaojin of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Group told Xinhuanet in March.
But Gossel said putting a satellite at L2 could also enable Chinese attack spacecraft to zoom past the moon — about a quarter-million miles away — and then sneak up on critical U.S. intelligence and communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit, just 28,300 miles up — as occurred in the 2011 apocalypse-themed film ‘Melancholia.’ ‘You could fly some sort of a weapon around the moon and it comes back — it could literally come at [objects] in GEO…and we would never know because there is nothing watching in that direction,’ he said. ‘Why do you need a relay satellite flying around L2? So you can communicate with something that’s going to land on the other side of the moon — or so you can fly around the other side of the moon? And what would that mean for our assets at GEO?’”