The U.S. government is looking to end the practice of anti-satellite missile tests, Vice President Kamala Harris announced, urging other nations to follow, CNBC reported.
An anti-satellite weapons test (ASAT) is a military demonstration in which a spacecraft in orbit is destroyed using a missile system. Historically, countries performing ASAT tests have targeted their assets in space.
Plans for the move were set late last year after the Russian military destroyed a defunct satellite with an ASAT on November 15.
The destruction created thousands of pieces of debris in low Earth orbit and sent astronauts on the International Space Station into the shelter as it passed through the shrapnel field.
The White House stressed that “the United States is the first nation to make such a declaration” to end such testing. The U.S., Russia, China, and India have destroyed their satellites in ASAT tests.
The U.S. last destroyed a satellite in 2008, with the U.S. Navy launching a modified SM-3 missile that intercepted the malfunctioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite USA-193.
The White House has continued to promote the Artemis Accords, an international agreement on space cooperation drafted by NASA and the State Department during the Trump administration.
Eighteen countries have signed the accords, with nine joining since President Joe Biden took office.
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