The Chinese are now capable of launching mini satellites or “cubesats” from a huge motherboard in space with lethal speed and precision. These tiny satellites, which weigh 2.2 pounds, are so complicated they can only be controlled by artificial intelligence or AI.
According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Chinese Space Science and Technology, unlocking the right AI to control the motherboard and cubesats would have “strong economic and military value.”
China earlier alleged that Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellites came “dangerously close” to their new space station twice last year. The communist nation threatened to shoot down the SpaceX satellites.
According to reports, Chinese and American satellites had a game of “geostationary orbit cat and mouse” months after the threat.
Cubesats can guard and defend against rogue forces in space
Zhang Jin, lead researcher in the study of the lethal swarms, said the cubesats can guard and defend against attack from rogue forces in space using advanced AI algorithms that tell the drones when and how to attack.
Researchers have called this the “multi-round greedy search” strategy and can teach up to four motherboards to attack nine targets in less than a day.
When tested, the advanced AI algorithm was able to instruct cubesats to destroy enemy targets within four minutes – 227 times quicker than a common algorithm.
It is also highly effective and can plan routes that need the minimal amount of fuel and energy, which means the swarms can remain in combat much longer.
“In the future, we will add randomness to the search strategy to overcome the limitations of the greedy algorithm and obtain global optimal results,” Zhang stated.
Beijing also claimed that it has created an anti-satellite AI system with deception skills.
Russia developing new laser weapon that can disable foreign satellites
Meanwhile, Russia is developing a new laser weapon to be deployed for electro-optical warfare. It can disable foreign satellites going over Russian territory. (Related: Space arms race heats up as Russia admits to destroying a satellite with a space missile.)
The Kalina project, which began construction in 2011, is ongoing in the Krona space surveillance complex located at the Chapal mountain peak.
Kalina’s goal is to create a system for the functional suppression of electro-optical systems of satellites using lasers.
The “space security complex” is a “special quantum-optical system” to be utilized for “electro-optical warfare,” according to Precision Instrument Systems, a Russian scientific and industrial corporation that received the contract for the project from Russia’s Ministry of Defense.
The project has been postponed many times and progress has been very slow. Kalina was possibly delayed by the economic sanctions enforced against Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the latest wave of sanctions enforced by the West because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kalina uses the latest telescope to accurately aim laser beams at satellites. It is housed in a building constructed to endure earthquakes up to magnitude seven. According to reports, the anti-satellite weapon is a part of the Krona space surveillance system managed by the Russian Defense Ministry.
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