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HONG KONG—Nearly a year and a half after Donald J. Trump ordered the Pentagon to establish the U.S. Space Force—a whole new sixth branch of the American armed forces—he signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 20. At least on paper, the U.S. Space Force is now a reality.

香港——在美国总统特朗普下令五角大楼成立美国太空部队(全新的美国武装部队第六分支)近一年半后,特朗普于12月20日签署了《2020财年国防授权法案》。至少在纸面上,美国太空部队现在已经成为现实。

But the United States is late to this game. The Russians have been organizing and reorganizing space force variants since the 1990s. And more importantly, the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army has had such an organization up and running for the last four years. It’s called the PLA Strategic Support Force, and it is something of a technological juggernaut responsible for space, cyber, electronic, and psychological warfare.

但是美国在这场比赛中迟到了。自1990年以来,俄罗斯人一直在组织和重组各种太空部队。但更重要的是,在过去四年,中国人民解放军已经成立了这样一个组织,它被称为中国人民解放军战略支援部队(PLA Strategic Support Force),它是负责太空,网络攻防,电子对抗和心理战的技术力量。

China’s Looming Land Grab in Outer Space

中国正在急速占领外太空



China’s biggest rocket, the Long March 5, was loaded onto a launchpad a week ago and successfully launched on Friday, carrying an eight-ton satellite. The heavy-lift rocket previously failed to launch in 2017, but its successful launch puts China’s space program on track to send a probe to Mars and acquire rock and fine-grain “soil” samples from the moon next year. The Long March 5 will also deliver modules of the Tiangong space station, which is due to go online within two to four years.

中国最大的火箭,长征5号(Long March 5),一周前被装载到发射台上,并在星期五成功发射,运载了八吨重的卫星。该型号重型火箭此前在2017年未能成功发射,如今其成功发射使中国的航天计划走上了向火星发射探测器的轨道,并将在明年从月球上获取岩石和细粒“土壤”样本。“长征五号”还将发射“天宫”空间站的模块,该空间站将在2至4年内完成建设。

Even though China hasn’t sent any “taikonauts” into space since late 2016, it has been placing a lot of equipment into orbit. Its BeiDou system—an alternative to the American GPS—is set to be completed in June. And the Chinese space program already has a rover on the far side of the moon; it has been operating for about a year.

尽管中国自2016年底以来再没向太空派遣过任何“太空人”,但中国一直将许多设备送入地球轨道。 北斗导航系统是美国GPS的替代方案,将于明年6月完工。中国的太空计划已经在月球的背面有了一个探测器。 它已经运行了大约一年。

Civilian operations also are progressing rapidly. iSpace, a company based in Beijing, is similar to SpaceX. It placed two satellites in orbit in late July.

民间的行动也有了进展。 北京的iSpace公司在7月下旬将两颗卫星送入了轨道,这个公司和SpaceX公司类似。

In Its Epic Sci-Fi Movie ‘The Wandering Earth,’ China Saves the World From Annihilation

在史诗般的科幻电影《流浪地球》中,中国拯救了世界。

How does the PLASSF operate?

中国人民解放军战略支援部队是如何运作的?

The branch projects power in what it describes as “strategic frontiers,” specifically referring to areas that are not defined as part of geographical topology. China hasn’t been involved in large-scale armed conflicts since the 1970s, so the force has been contributing to training exercises where it plays the role of an adversary, deploying electronic and psychological warfare, preparing the PLA’s other branches for disruptive battle tactics.

该部队在其所谓的“战略边界”中部署力量,特别是那些未被官方明确定义的部分区域。自1970年代以来,中国就再也没有卷入过大规模的武装冲突中。因此,这支中国军队一直在进行训练演习,在演习中扮演对手的角色,展开电子战和心理战,为解放军其他部队采取破坏性战术做准备。

Although outer space remains an untested domain for armed conflict, the PLASSF is busy formulating the Chinese military’s space operational doctrine. And China’s space warfare specialists have been conducting research and training as a unit for nearly four years to rival U.S. Space Command and the newly formed Space Force.

尽管未经过太空武装冲突测试,但解放军仍然忙于制定中国军方的空间作战理论。 中国的空间战专家已经在一个单位进行了近四年的研究和训练,以与美国太空司令部和新组建的太空部队相抗衡。

In the meantime, the PLASSF has recruited hundreds of specialists and scientists whose expertise in deep tech will define China’s space warfare capabilities. The scenario that is of utmost concern is a long-range attack launched from, say, the United States. Only by controlling a chunk of outer space can the PLA conduct long range operations against the U.S. or other forces—or deter potential attacks.

同时,解放军已招募了数百名专家和科学家,他们在尖端技术上的专长将决定中国的空间作战能力。其中他们最关心的是如何应对美国发动的远距离攻击。而解放军只有控制一大块外太空,才能对美国或其他武装力量进行远距离行动,或阻止潜在的攻击。

Xi Jinping and the CCP believe it is crucial to match and surpass the U.S. in technological prowess in all arenas. As Chinese entities bulk up their presence beyond the stratosphere, the Party is also harnessing other forms of cutting-edge tech, like big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. In September, Xi appointed a big-data expert, Wang Yingwei, as the CCP’s new cybersecurity chief. And the People’s Bank of China—the country’s central bank—is redoubling efforts to create a digital currency, likely in response to Facebook’s proposed Libra, which may be rolled out in 2020.

中国认为,在各个领域的技术实力与美国匹敌并超越美国至关重要。随着中国实体在平流层上的影响力不断扩大,中国也在利用其他形式的尖端技术,例如大数据,人工智能和云计算。 9月,王英伟是新任网络安全负责人。 中国人民银行(中国的中央银行)正加倍努力创建一种数字货币,这可能是对Facebook提议的天秤座计划(Libra)的回应,该计划可能会在2020年推出。



Beijing says it “always adheres to the principle of use of outer space for peaceful purposes and opposes the weaponization of or an arms race in outer space.”

北京表示,“中国始终坚持和平利用外层空间,反对外空武器化和外空军备竞赛”

The PLA’s readiness to co-opt China’s developments beyond Earth’s surface tell us otherwise.

这告诉我们另一个问题,中国人民解放军愿意配合中国在地球表面以外的地方发展。