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US to introduce UN resolution on anti-satellite testing ban

The US plans to introduce a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly this month that will call for a ban on anti-satellite testing.

US Vice President Kamala Harris made the announcement at the National Space Council meeting in Houston, Texas, on Friday.

The use of weaponry and military technology in space has concerned many experts over the years, as some countries perform anti-satellite missile tests, or ASAT.

These tests use military technology to destroy spacecraft.

“This April, I announced that our nation would not conduct destructive, direct-ascent, anti-satellite missile testing,” Ms Kamala said.

“And later this month, the United States will introduce a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly to call on other nations to make the same commitment.”

ASATs are also a concern because they create high levels of debris that could endanger astronauts and satellites.

In November, Russia carried out an ASAT test in which it destroyed one of its satellites, creating thousands of pieces of space debris.

India ordered an ASAT test in 2019 in an operation called the Mission Shakti, resulting in a dangerous level of space debris.

China destroyed one of its satellites in 2007 and the US followed a year later with a similar operation.

“As activity in space grows, we must also establish international rules and norms to reaffirm the rights of, and demand responsibility from, all spacefaring nations,” Ms Kamala said.

During the Space Council meeting, Ms Kamala also announced that the signatories of the Artemis Accords will gather at the International Astronautical Congress — world’s largest space conference — in Paris next week for the first time.

The accords, an international agreement that outlines responsible space exploration, has been signed by 21 countries so far, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The agreement also outlines responsible Moon exploration, as more countries look to land spacecraft or astronauts on the lunar surface.

Through the Artemis programme, Nasa hopes to build a sustainable human presence on the surface.

“Much has changed since our nation first set our sights on the Moon six decades ago. We have travelled billions of miles into the unknown, and we have learnt many great and profound truths about our universe,” Ms Kamala said.

“And yet, in a very real sense, we have only just begun our journey into space. There is so much we still don’t know and so much we still haven’t done.

“Space remains a place of undiscovered and unrealised opportunity.

“So, our task then and our responsibility, dare I say, is to work together to guide humanity forward into this new frontier and to make real the incredible potential of space for all people.” The National News

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