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US Imposes Ban On Anti-Satellite Weapons Tests To Highlight Russian Malfeasance In Space

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The Biden administration is implementing a self-imposed ban on all anti-satellite weapons testing, in order to take the lead in highlighting what it says are the dangerous and irresponsible Russian tests in space, which have lately created a potentially disastrous field of space debris. China has also been accused of similarly reckless anti-satellite missile testing.

NBC reported the initiative Monday based on admin sources, and a briefing provided to Congress indicates that the move is to address "the most pressing threats to the security and sustainability of space, as demonstrated by Russia’s November 2021 destructive direct-ascent ASAT missile test."

Space debris illustrative, Source: Wiki Commons


 

The new moratorium comes as Vice President Harris meets with Space Command and members of the US Space Force at Vanderburg Space Force Base in California, where she is reportedly emphasizing the need for "advancing norms for peaceful and responsible behavior in space."

The hope, however unlikely is that both Russia and China would follow Washington's lead on this – but the reality is that Moscow and Beijing are likely to see it as an extension of the propaganda information war targeting especially Russia amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. 

In mid-November, US officials were outraged after Russia used anti-satellite weapons, or ASATs, to destroy a defunct spacecraft which had long been in orbit:

On Nov. 15, 2021, an interceptor missile launched in northern Russia struck a Soviet-era COSMOS 1408 satellite, generating a massive debris field in low-Earth orbit of more than 1,500 pieces of trackable debris, U.S. Space Command has said. 

As a result the space junk is expected to continue orbiting for years, potentially colliding with other satellites. Some of the larger pieces are believed to be up to a few feet across – easily capable of causing severe damage, also to the International Space Station if there was a collision. 

At the time in November, the Kremlin had defended its actions which the US State Department had slammed as reckless. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had said the missile test was "promising" due to its accuracy in striking the defunct satellite and that "The fragments that formed do not pose any threat to space activity."

However, State Department Spokesman Ned Price had countered by explaining that the "destructive satellite test of a direct ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its satellites" had "generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that now threaten" space assets of many countries. 

Price condemned further at the time"this test will significantly increase the risk to astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, as well as to other human spaceflight activities." 


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