China has announced they are developing new surveillance stations in Antarctica which will support their satellite activity and data collection. The new ground stations come as concerns are mounting over China’s extensive global surveillance network and the threat it poses to the U.S. Over the past weeks, the U.S. military has already shot down one confirmed Chinese spy craft and another 4 unidentifiable surveillance aircraft.
A subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) won a bid of 43.95 million yuan ($6.52 million) to construct the satellite ground system. The boost to China’s satellite capabilities couldn’t come at a worse time and has added to concern over what China may be looking to achieve with their vast surveillance and data collecting program.
Rick Fisher, senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, told Fox that China has a history of using Antarctica to stage military tests.
“In 2021, state media revealed that China had put a LIDAR — a laser radar — into the Zhongshan station to conduct ‘atmospheric research,'” Fisher said. “Any kind of laser raises the possibility that the LIDAR could be upgraded to be a far more powerful laser.”
Fisher went on to say that powerful lasers from the Zhongshan base could enable China to damage or destroy targeted satellites.
“The United States, Germany, Norway, perhaps other countries also had space probe facilities in Antarctica. However, none of them are developing Fractional Orbital Bombardment Systems (FOBS), as is China,” says Fisher.
“Zhongshan base is becoming … a surveillance location from which to be able to better target American satellites. It’s a base that will … be able to guide new Chinese space weapons to American targets,” Fisher said.
“And because its on the South Pole, it can play a greater role in helping China to populate the Moon,”