Twenty-six global aerospace companies have signed a statement supporting an international effort to end “destructive anti-satellite testing” (ASAT). The goal of the declaration is to move toward a safer and more sustainable space environment.
Signatories include several major organizations, including Axiom Space, which has conducted two private astronaut missions to the International Space Station; and Planet – a company that collects Earth observation data using hundreds of satellites.
In April 2022, the US promised not to conduct destructive ground-launched anti-satellite missile (DA-ASAT) tests. In such tests, a missile launched from land (or from a ship or aircraft at sea) is aimed at a dead or dying satellite.
However, experts say ASAT tests pose a threat to humanity, creating more debris.
The newly released statement said: “These tests could create long-term debris in orbit, threatening national assets, commercial spacecraft, space flights, and many other services in space that people use every day. Are.”
According to the statement, space debris also poses a direct threat to future economic activity and innovation in low Earth orbit.
This will increase the costs of current and future space activities and create uncertainty for investors and operators.
In September 2022, the US introduced a resolution in the UN General Assembly to end ASAT and asked other countries to make similar commitments.
According to the world security organization Secure World Foundation (SWF), 37 countries are currently participating in this resolution. Among them, some countries such as Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom have strong space activities.
Live ASAT operations are more than just an imaginary threat. For example, in 2007, China destroyed one of its dead satellites and created a new cloud of debris in Earth’s orbit.
Russia followed suit in November 2021, destroying a Soviet-era spacecraft called Cosmos 1408, leaving thousands of pieces of debris in Earth’s orbit.