The United Nations General Assembly passed a decision as we speak asking international locations to not conduct direct-ascent anti-satellite assessments (ASAT) that create house junk. The US spearheaded the measure after the International Space Station (ISS) had a close call final yr with greater than 1,500 items of particles from a Russian ASAT.
The measure doesn’t ban the event or testing of ASAT programs, nevertheless it discourages conducting them in a manner that creates house particles. Although because it got here from the UN General Assembly and never the Security Council, it isn’t legally binding.
In addition to creating navigational hazards for astronauts, house junk additionally reflects sunlight to Earth’s surface, interfering with ground-based telescopes. Moreover, researchers anticipate orbital particles to extend by magnitudes over the subsequent decade as internet-broadcasting mini-satellites, like SpaceX’s Starlink, develop in reputation.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the White House National Space Council, tweeted reward as we speak for the passage. “Back in April, I announced the United States will not conduct destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile tests, and I called on other nations to join us. Today, 155 countries voted in favor of a UN resolution, helping establish this as an international norm for space.”
Of the 4 international locations which have performed ASATs — United States, China, India and Russia — solely the US voted in favor as we speak. In addition to Russia and China, nations voting no included Belarus, Bolivia, the Central African Republic, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua and Syria. Nine extra nations abstained: India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo and Zimbabwe.