China Tests Anti-Satellite Weapon, Unnerving U.S.
By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER
China successfully carried out its first test of an anti-satellite weapon last week, signaling its resolve to play a major role in military space activities and bringing expressions of concern from Washington and other capitals, the Bush administration said Thursday.
Only two nations — Russia and the United States — have previously destroyed spacecraft in anti-satellite tests, most recently the United States in the mid 1980s.
Arms control experts called the test, in which a Chinese missile destroyed an aging Chinese weather satellite, a troubling development that could foreshadow either an anti-satellite arms race or, alternatively, a diplomatic push by China to force the Bush administration into negotiations on a weapons ban.
“This is the first real escalation in the weaponization of space that we’ve seen in 20 years,” said Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer who tracks rocket launchings and space activity. “It ends a long period of restraint.”
White House officials said the United States and other nations, which they did not name, had “expressed our concern regarding ... full text