Brandon Weichert, a space expert was cited by ET on June 8, saying that Elon Musk’s Starlink makes the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “nervous.”
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by Musk’s spacecraft company SpaceX. Currently, Starlink consists of over 2,400 satellites that orbit the earth at an altitude more than 60 times lower than the satellites that carry most of the world’s internet today.
According to Wichert, one of the reasons why CCP or other U.S.. adversaries fear Starlink is that this satellite system is capable of fending off large-scale attacks. This makes it difficult for the enemy to destroy America’s space infrastructure.
Weichert said, “Starlink is a great example of a private-sector profit motive providing a key example of how the military’s vital-yet-vulnerable satellite constellations can be protected.”
He added, “The strength of Starlink is its redundancy. So basically, we saw last summer, a solar flare knocked out something like 20—or maybe it was even 40—Starlink satellites, and Musk didn’t even bat an eye. Within a day, those systems were replaced because they’re small and they’re cheap.”
Weichert pointed out that one sign showing that the CCP is scared of Starlink is that the CCP complained to the UN that the Chinese Space Station “Tiangong” had to find a way to avoid a collision with Starlink two times.
Weichert also said that Starlink has cyber-defense capabilities that seemed impressive even to defense specialists at the Pentagon.
According to the author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower,” Dave Tremper, the Pentagon’s director of electronic warfare, said that “Pentagon’s electronic warfare specialist was witnessing in real-time Starlink operators at SpaceX defend the Starlink satellite onboard system from the Russian cyber attacks, ceaseless cyber attack.”
Dave Tremper also told Breaking Defense that SpaceX’s capabilities are “eye-watering” to him.
Therefore, if China’s military attempted a cyber-attack on Starlink’s onboard operating systems, Weichert says, it “would be in for a very rude awakening.”