Although the U.S. has harshly criticized Russia's and China's anti-satellite missile testing, it also used an interceptor rocket fired from a U.S. Navy warship over 14 years ago to eliminate a spy satellite that was malfunctioning.
This issue has become more urgent after Russia launched a missileto demolish a Soviet-era satellite in November.
In a speech Monday at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, Vice President Kamala Harris criticized the Russian actions as "reckless and irresponsible".
According to U.S. Space Command, the strike caused more than 1,500 pieces space debris to fall on U.S. and Russian astronauts at the International Space Station and China’s Tiangong space stations.
Harris stated, "These tests are simply dangerous." Harris stated, "These tests are dangerous."
As Russia was preparing for its latest invasion of Ukraine, the Russian test took place. Over 7,000 people have been killed in the war that lasted seven weeks. The U.S. and its allies have imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia.
China also conducted a similar weapon test in 2007. There was also a lot of debris.
Harris stated that the debris from the missile tests could not only threaten astronauts and U.S. defense interests, but also commercial satellites that are used around the world for weather forecasts, GPS systems to help drivers navigate streets, and television broadcasts.
A piece of space debris as small as a basketball would be enough to destroy a satellite. It travels thousands of miles an hour and is the size of a basketball. Harris stated that even a small piece of debris could cause severe damage.
The anti-satellite missile test ban was announced months after Harris, at a December meeting, stated that White House National Security Council officials would collaborate with officials from the Pentagon, State Department and other U.S. security agencies to create proposals for national security space norms.
This ban was announced by the United States as the first. Harris stated that she hoped that other countries would soon follow suit.
Interceptor missiles are used to launch interceptor missiles from Earth's surface that strike satellite targets hundreds of miles in space. This is the type of direct-ascent weapon the Biden administration has committed not to fire.
According to the Secure World Foundation (a nongovernmental organization that promotes peaceful and sustainable use of outer space), the United States, China and India have carried out more than a dozen space anti-satellite testing since the 1960s.
According to the foundation, at least 4,300 pieces are still in orbit today. They pose long-term risks to human spaceflight, science, national security missions, as well as future economic development of space.
In 2008, the U.S. conducted anti-satellite missile testing. The India 2019 also targeted satellites at lower altitudes. These were well below the orbit of the space station at approximately 260 miles (420 km).
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the launch of a missile to destroy a satellite in low earth orbit was intended to show India's capability as a space power alongside the U.S. and Russia. The launch was ordered by Modi weeks before the national elections.
Cosmos 1408, a Russian satellite that was lost to space, was about 40 miles (65 km) higher than when it was hit by a missile from Russia.
Brian Weeden, Secure World Foundation's director of program planning, said that the Biden administration's decision was significant and puts pressure on Russia and China to follow suit.
Weeden spoke of China and Russia, saying that they have made a lot diplomatic noise over the past decade about stopping a space arms race while also testing their (anti-satellite weapons) weapons and creating orbital junk.