A senior American general in the Pentagon likened Chinas launch of a supersonic missile orbiting the Earth to the launch of “Sputnik”, the first artificial satellite in 1957, which was the spark for the great nations’ space race
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, said that the recent Chinese test of a supersonic missile orbiting the Earth, is similar to the Soviet Union’s launch of “Sputnik”, which was the world’s first artificial satellite in 1957.
Milley expressed concern about the experience, saying, “What we have witnessed is a very important event related to the testing of a hypersonic weapons system. It is very worrying.”
In a statement to Bloomberg TV, Milley added, “I don’t know if it is similar to the Sputnik moment, but I think it is very close to it.”
The Pentagon had previously refused to confirm the test, which was first reported by the “Financial Times” newspaper on October 16, and said that the test launch of the missile in August “surprised the United States.”
The missile orbited the Earth at a low altitude and at a speed five times faster than the speed of sound, knowing that it missed its target by more than 30 km, according to the newspaper.
Supersonic missiles are the new frontier in this technology, due to their ability to fly at a lower altitude, and therefore difficult to detect compared to ballistic missiles, and their ability to reach their targets more quickly, and their ease of maneuverability.
This makes it more dangerous, especially if it is equipped with nuclear warheads.
The United States, Russia, China and North Korea have tested hypersonic missiles, while other countries are developing the technology.
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