The United States will no longer test anti-satellite weapons to find coexistence in space

In an unexpected announcement, the U.S. government announced the end of its anti-satellite weapons testing program. The announcement was made by Vice President Kamala Harris during a visit to the Space Force Base in Vandenberg, Santa Barbara County, California.

According to American Second in Command, the idea is to take the first step towards a better coexistence of countries in space, with the United States following this example as a model for other countries with space capabilities and trying to do the most. Peaceful activities outside the world.

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the end of anti-satellite weapons tests during a visit to a space force base in Vandenberg, California.

According to the Naval Institute’s Guide to the Naval Weapons System of the World, anti-satellite (or simply “ASAT”) weapons were designed with military tactics and tactics in mind. Its experiments return to the heights of the Cold War, when the United States and the former Soviet Union were also militarily competing for technological dominance.

In fact, satellites, since their first launch (Sputnik 1), have been used in a number of contexts: militarily, they are used on troop navigation, to communicate with military bases, and to communicate with platoon in conflict zones, and perhaps the greatest interest of these powers. , Collecting and distributing intelligence information from enemy countries.

Armed satellites, although they have never been used in the context of a real war, have already been demonstrated by countries such as China, India, Russia and of course the United States. Displays have always been performed on disabled internal targets – such as “dead” satellites, for example – and never on foreign targets.

In fact, it serves as a great threat deterrent: “If you attack my structure on Earth, I will take revenge from above.” However, growing concerns about the growth of space debris – as a result of increased private sector involvement in space exploration – have changed public perceptions, and anti-satellite weapons are no longer seen as a defensive tool. , Has now become another provocative factor. Debris in our orbit.

The wreckage of space itself may not bother many people, but it is important to remember that in space, the physics standards we hold on Earth are raised with deadly force: in May 2016, one of the two-branded glass windows of the International Space Station (ISS) cracked. .. by drops of ink coming out of an ancient decaying satellite.

In fact, whatever the size of the space junk particle, it follows the Earth’s rotational speed, which is 1674 kilometers per hour (km / h). A push at this speed, even with such a small object, could destroy a satellite, knock it out of orbit, and possibly crash into the Earth’s surface. Now imagine this happening in a city.

At the end of January 2022, 8,261 satellites were registered in orbit, up 12% from the previous 10 months, according to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOSA). With companies like Starlink, SpaceX’s Internet platform, aiming to put more satellites in orbit, that number is set to grow exponentially. And despite the technological advances in each of them, collisions between satellites have already been recorded.

For this reason, the United States is betting on the idea that using anti-satellite weapons to destroy objects in space is not as innocuous as it seems. So start a kind of conversation that sets the rules for coexistence in space – just as there are “rules for recruiting” soldiers on the ground (which determines when and how soldiers can react and how to react, at hand). There may be a way to avoid all possibilities.

“There is a lot of talk about different values ​​- there is no solution and no way to develop one. The approach you take will probably be very different depending on each content and context, ”Robin Dickey, a senior analyst at the Aerospace Center for Space Policy and Strategy, told Phys.org.

The problem is that nations put their own interests first: recent events have seen Russia and China secede from major economic blocs, for example, and as a result a more universal solution seems increasingly remote, because, by the principle of national sovereignty, what each country wants, how Free to develop what he wants and when he wants. In reality, this indicates that reaching a consensus would be a matter of choice – and countries that do not agree may simply decide not to follow any rules.

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