Rumor is China will conduct its third major anti-satellite missile test in six years on Jan. 11. Not coincidentally, the two previous ASAT tests also occurred on Jan. 11 in 2007 and 2010. China also flew its J-20 stealth fighter prototype for the first time on Jan. 11, 2011.
The reason is rooted in Chinese language and tradition. In Mandarin, “January 11” is usually spoken as “1-1-1.” Sets of three are considered lucky in Chinese numerology. “Every year they [the Chinese military] do something interesting on that day,” Owen Cote, an analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told me.