U.S. announces ban on anti-satellite missile tests – National

The Biden Administration announced Monday that it is banning anti-satellite missile testing by USAA move that White House officials say is intended to underscore their hopes of setting new standards for military action in space.

The US has strongly criticized Russia and China To start anti-satellite missile testalthough it also used a US Navy warship-fired interceptor more than 14 years ago to destroy a malfunctioning spy satellite.

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US blames Russia for space junk from satellite destroyed by weapons test

The issue is one of the more pressing after Russia in November launched a rocket to destroy a defunct Soviet-era satellite. Vice President Kamala Harris criticized Russia’s actions as “irresponsible.” The attack produced more than 1,500 pieces space debris that increases the risk for the US and Russian astronauts on board International Space Station and China’s Tiangong space station, according to the US Space Command.

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Harris, chair of the White House’s National Space Council, planned to discuss the United States’ commitment to stopping anti-satellite missile testing and setting standards for space in a speech. scheduled Monday night at Vandenberg Space Force Base on California’s central coast, according to the White House.

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Russia’s anti-satellite weapon test is ‘dangerous and irresponsible:’ US State Department

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Russia’s test comes as the country is massing its troops ahead of its latest invasion of Ukraine. The war, which has lasted more than seven weeks, has killed thousands of people and prompted the United States and its allies to inflict massive economic sanctions on Russia.

A similar Chinese weapon test in 2007 also caused debris to spread.

“Long-lived debris generated by these tests now threatens satellites and other space objects that are critical to our security, economy, and environment,” the White House said in a statement. economic and scientific interests of all nations, while increasing the risks for astronauts in space.” “Overall, these experiments jeopardize the long-term sustainability of outer space and promote space exploration and use by all nations.”

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The Biden administration’s announcement of the anti-satellite missile test moratorium comes months after Harris announced at a meeting in December that White House National Security Council officials would work with other officials. positions at the Pentagon, State Department, and other national security agencies to develop proposals for national security space targets.

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The US was the first country to announce such a ban. Harris said she hopes other countries will quickly follow suit.

The direct-flying weapon the Biden administration has pledged not to fire relies on interceptors traveling from the Earth’s surface to strike a satellite target hundreds of miles in space.

Since the 1960s, the United States, China, India and Russia have conducted more than a dozen anti-satellite tests in space that have destroyed satellites and created more than 6,300 orbital debris, according to the Secure World Foundation, a non-governmental group advocating for the sustainable and peaceful use of outer space.

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According to the organization, at least 4,300 of those pieces of debris remain in orbit and pose long-term threats to space missions, science and human national security, and development. future space economy.

The US anti-satellite missile tests in 2008 as well as India’s in 2019 targeted satellites at much lower altitudes, just below the space station at about 260 miles (420 km).

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the destruction of a satellite in low earth orbit with a rocket was intended to demonstrate India’s capabilities as a “space power” alongside the US, Russia and China. He ordered the launch weeks before the national elections.

The defunct Russian satellite Cosmos 1408 was in orbit about 40 miles (65 km) higher when it was destroyed in November by a rocket fired from northern Russia.

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Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation, called the Biden administration’s move an important move to put pressure on China and Russia to do the same.

Weeden said of Russia and China: “They have made a lot of noise diplomatically over the past decade about stopping an arms race in space and testing their (anti-satellite) weapons. their own and generate orbital debris.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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