Wednesday, May 15, 2013

China missile hit highest suborbital level since 1976: scientist

China launched a large missile on Monday that reached 6,200 miles above the earth, its highest suborbital launch since 1976, according to a U.S. scientist at Harvard University.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the rocket was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in western China, and China said the rocket carried a science payload which studied the earth's magnetosphere.

He said the rocket could possibly be used in the future to carry an anti-satellite payload on a similar trajectory, but there was no evidence to indicate the launch was intended to test such a capability.

The United States remains concerned about China's development of anti-satellite capabilities after it shot a missile at one of its own defunct satellites in orbit in 2007, creating an enormous amount of debris in space.