A Chinese space center found a mysterious jamming device outside its base just weeks before a crewed rocket launch

The crewed Shenzhou-14 spacecraft and a Long March-2F carrier rocket seen at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.VCG/VCG via Getty Images

  • China’s main satellite launch center found a jammer near its base just before a launch, according to local media.

  • The device, which has a maximum range of around 32ft and can be purchased online, was found in a car.

  • The jammer could interfere with a satellite’s signal, a scientist at the center told SCMP.

Researchers at a space center in China said they found a jamming device just outside their base just weeks before a scheduled rocket launch, according to local media.

The device was found in a car driving near the Jiuquan satellite launch center in Gansu province about two weeks ago, Yangtze Evening News reported Sunday.

The space center did not say whether the incident was an act of sabotage, but did note that the jammer could interfere with navigation systems and deflect a rocket, according to the outlet.

China is preparing to send three astronauts to its Tiangong space station on Sunday via its Shenzhou-14 rocket. Among the crew is Liu Yang, who became the first Chinese woman to be sent into space in 2012.

According to Yangtze Evening News, scientists at the Jiuquan Space Center began detecting “anomalous” interference signals earlier this month and spent several days tracking them down.

The device discovered was a small frequency transmitter with a typical maximum range of 32 feet, according to the South China Morning Post. The outlet said such devices could be purchased from e-commerce websites like “Taobao” – the rugged version of Amazon in China.

Despite its size, the device could be used to disrupt a satellite’s signal, which is already weak because it’s emitted at altitudes of more than 12,000 feet above Earth, a scientist at the center told Reuters. SCMP.

On Tuesday morning Beijing time, the launch of Shenzhou-14 is still proceeding as planned, with facilities and equipment at Jiuquan Space Center “in good condition”, Xinhua News reported.

If successful, the crewed mission will launch the final phase of construction of the Tiangong Space Station – China’s answer to the International Space Station (ISS). Chinese astronauts have been banned from the ISS since 2011 for US security reasons.

Tiangong, which means “Heavenly Palace”, includes three modules that will be installed one by one. The first module has been in orbit since April 2021.

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