US Will No Longer Launch Anti-Satellite Missile Tests, Urges Other Nations to Ban Them

US Will No Longer Launch Anti-Satellite Missile Tests, Urges Other Nations to Ban Them

In a recent vow for space safety, US Vice President Kamala Harris declared the US will no longer undertake anti-satellite missile tests, calling them “hazardous” and “reckless.” Multiple other countries, including Russia, China, and India, as well as the United States, have performed similar experiments against their own spacecraft, resulting in massive space debris.

The US is now urging other countries to follow suit and stop conducting these tests. “These experiments are risky, and we will not perform them,” Harris stated at the Vandenberg Space Force facility. In 2008, the US performed anti-satellite missile testing, killing a faulty spy satellite with a modified SM-3 missile. A similar test was recently undertaken by Russia on a Soviet-era satellite. As a consequence, a cloud of shrapnel fell directly in front of the ISS, forcing crew to take cover. The United States criticized the incident, but Russia retaliated by branding the United States “hypocritical.”

According to CNBC, US Space Command Commander James Dickinson stated in a statement, “Russia has displayed a purposeful disdain for the security, safety, stability, and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations.” Vice President Harris has stated that the government is dedicated to ceasing these testing and that other countries should put a blanket prohibition on future anti-satellite experiments to safeguard the safety of low-orbit satellites.

In his address, Harris stated, “This debris poses a threat to the safety of our astronauts, satellites, and expanding commercial presence.” “A basketball-sized piece of space junk traveling at thousands of kilometers per hour would kill a satellite. Even a little amount of material, the size of a grain of sand, can do significant harm.” As more commercial satellites are sent into orbit, space debris is becoming more of an issue. 

The Department of Defense’s worldwide Space Surveillance Network (SSN) is continually monitoring some 27,000 pieces of big debris, however there are many more that are too tiny to be reliably tracked. 23,000 of them are larger than a baseball and circle Earth at extraordinary speeds, presenting serious risks to satellites as well as crewed space stations like the International Space Station. Multiple initiatives are now underway to try to minimize the formation of space debris, albeit such efforts would need worldwide collaboration. A restriction on anti-satellite missiles may help reduce junk creation if the missiles were employed on a regular basis, which is not the situation right now.