The U.S. Space Force’s vice chief of operations warned on Sunday that China is on a rapid pace in space development, adding to mounting concerns that it could outpace the U.S. in space and gain military advantage.
Asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether China could take out U.S. sensors and have first strike capability in space, Gen. David Thompson said "there's a potential,” adding, “that's one of the reasons that the Space Force was created" during the Trump administration.
China and the U.S. have largely competed for the advantage in space in recent years. And while Thompson said the U.S. is currently the leader there, China has made rapid advancements in recent years.
“I don't think it's a foregone conclusion they will be the leader in space at the end of the decade, but they are on an incredible pace,” Thompson said, adding that the U.S. needs to adapt its approach or risk being outpaced by the competing power.
Thompson’s comments come on the heels of other growing warnings about China’s space advancement. Last month, China launched a missile that circled the globe and struck a target. And Russia launched a hypersonic missile from a warship in the Arctic, raising fears that Moscow and Beijing are closing in on hypersonic missile technology far more quickly than the U.S.
The Space Force general also addressed concerns about Russia’s recent anti-satellite missile shot, which caused a debris field in space. He echoed recent messaging that it was irresponsible and dangerous, adding that the debris could in the future threaten satellites including the International Space Station that carries some Russian cosmonauts.