Jeff Gossel, the senior intelligence engineer at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s Space and Missile Analysis Group, has said that China may have positioned a satellite on the far side of the moon for nefarious purposes, Nextgov reported Wednesday.
In May, the China National Space Administration launched the Queqiao satellite towards Earth-Moon Lagrange point 2, roughly 59,000 miles on the flipside of the moon, ahead of the Chang’e 4 robotic lunar rover mission planned for December.
Since the landing site for Chang’e 4 is located on the side of the moon constantly facing away from the Earth, a relay satellite is needed on that same side to allow human operators to control the rover.
The Queqiao satellite entered halo orbit around L2 this June.
Speaking at a recent Air Force Association event, Gossel speculated that the Queqiao satellite could give the Chinese military the ability to send attack spacecraft around the moon to outflank U.S. space assets in geosynchronous Earth orbit.
“You could fly some sort of a weapon around the moon and it comes back… and we would never know because there is nothing watching in that direction,” Gossel said.