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Pentagon warns China, Russia space lasers could blast US satellites

A report outlines the dangers other nations could pose to US space assets.

Earth from space, December 1992.

A Pentagon report suggests that Russia and China could be planning to target US satellites with lasers.

ARPL/NASA via Getty

The Pentagon this week released a report highlighting threats to the US in space, warning that China and Russia are "likely" developing lasers to attack satellites.

The Defense Intelligence Agency report, "Challenges to Security in Space," looks at the launch capabilities of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, as well as the potential danger each poses.

It notes that both Russia and China are probably "pursuing laser weapons to disrupt, degrade, or damage satellites and their sensors," while the other two countries "will try to deny an adversary use of space during a conflict" through the use of communication jamming.

Russia apparently started delivering a laser weapon system to its Aerospace Forces before July 2018, with President Vladimir Putin dubbing it "a new type of strategic weapon."

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The US uses satellites for navigation, weapons targeting, intelligence gathering and missile launch detection, CNN noted, and keeps a close eye on the nations highlighted in the report.

China has upped its space game recently. Last month, it became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. It's also eying another trip to the moon this year.

Last summer, President Donald Trump directed the Department of Defense to create a Space Force as the sixth branch of the US military, though it could end up being established within the Air Force, which already handles a number of space defense responsibilities.

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