The Pentagon on Wednesday called for a global halt to anti-satellite weapons tests and further condemned the practice after Russia’s destructive demonstration last month covered the low-earth orbit with debris.
“We want all nations to agree to abandon anti-satellite weapons tests that create debris,” said Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense, Kathleen Hicks, at a meeting of the National Space Council.
The Russian military destroyed a decommissioned satellite on November 15 with an anti-satellite weapon (or ASAT) that, according to US Space Command, caused more than 1,500 debris and sent astronauts to protection on the International Space Station as they passed through and nearby was the shrapnel field.
The test was widely condemned by US officials, with Russian officials calling it “hypocritical” in light of previous US military tests in space. So far, four countries – the US, Russia, China and India – have previously destroyed their own satellites in ASAT tests.
But Hicks’ comments are the most direct call to action since the Russian demonstration.
“Such deliberate disregard for safety and sustainability in space is condemned and underscores the urgency to act in defense of the development of common norms and the long-term sustainability of space,” said Hicks.
She spoke at a panel of President Joe Biden’s first National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris. Like Hicks, Harris called the ASAT test “irresponsible”.
“By blasting rubble … [Russia] endangered the satellites of other nations as well as astronauts on the International Space Station, “Harris said, later adding that the test” created a moment for us to really see very clearly what can happen and what can possibly be avoided with norms and rules can be “.” in space.
State Department Assistant Secretary Wendy Sherman added during the council meeting on Wednesday that the United Nations is creating a process of setting “national security room standards of conduct”.