US makes pledge on satellite killers — Analysis

Kamala Harris (VP) announces policy changes on Space Force’s anti-satellite Missiles

Following a meeting in California with Space Force and Space Command officials, Kamala Harris declared that the US won’t conduct satellite-killer rocket tests and urged all countries to do so. The head of Russia’s space agency was skeptical, however.

“I am pleased to announce that as of today, the United States commits not to conduct destructive direct-ascent, anti-satellite missile testing. Simply put, these tests are dangerous and we will not conduct them,”Harris spoke Monday night.

“If a satellite was taken out by debris, it could affect the daily weather forecast, GPS driving directions, and even your favorite television station,”Harris was also mentioned. “These tests also threaten the lives of astronauts in the International Space Station.”

“We are the first nation to make such a commitment and today, on behalf of the United States of America, I call on all nations to join us, whether a nation is space-faring or not,”She spoke with reporters in Vandenberg Space Force Base, California after meeting officials of US Space Forces and Space Command.

Harris also vowed that the US will “work with other nations to establish this as a new international norm for responsible behavior in space,” presumably a reference to the upcoming United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on reducing space threats, scheduled for May 9 in Geneva. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was supervising the White House’s Easter egg roll.

SpaceX launches spy satellite

ASATs are missiles that can be launched from Earth, or from an airplane at high altitude in order to destroy a satellite. Russia’s most recent testing of this weapon occurred in November 2021 when the ground-launched missile destroyed a Soviet satellite Cosmos 1408, which was no longer being used.

Harris referenced both that incident and China’s anti-satellite missile from 2007. However, one year later, the US launched a missile from a ship to demolish its spy satellite above the Pacific Ocean. 

Moscow and Beijing previously requested that the US sign an international treaty to prohibit the use of space weapons. Washington however has not yet done so.

Harris’s remarks probably mean that the US has already “completed a series of anti-satellite weapons tests and put them into service with the US Space Force,”Dmitry Rogozin (head of Roscosmos Russian space agency) speculated Tuesday on Telegram.



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