UPDATED 9:17 AM PT – Tuesday, April 19 2022
Vice President Kamala Harris declared the US will not conduct anti-satellite missile tests. She made the announcement while speaking at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Monday. The Democrat voiced concerns of the possible debris created when the missiles hit their intended targets, which could rain down upon unsuspecting victims on earth or harm astronauts in orbit.
Harris specifically referenced past uses of the projectiles by America’s two largest rivals in space: Russia and China. Back in November, Russia targeted a defunct satellite, which created more than 1,500 pieces of debris and posed a danger to the International Space Station.
“That, of course, is when Russia launched a missile to destroy a satellite in space,” said Harris. “It is called a destructive direct ascent anti-satellite missile test. In 2007, China conducted a similar test.”
Harris went on to chastise the Russians and Chinese for operating in space without any regard for American interests.
“These weapons are intended to deny the United States, our ability to use our space capabilities, by disrupting, destroying our satellites,” she asserted. “Satellites which are critical to our national security. These tests, to be sure, are reckless and they are irresponsible”.
The US is the first country to ban anti-satellite missile tests and is calling upon other countries to join the boycott of such operations. However, some believe the good intentions can have dire consequences.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, said the ban does nothing to deter Russia or China from continuing such tests. He claimed the US is putting itself at a serious disadvantage in a theater for future warfare.
Additionally, the top Republican in the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), called the decision a national security threat. He said the US is purposely stripping itself of increasing its capabilities in outer space.