Biden administration vows to cease anti-satellite tests

The Biden administration yesterday announced that it is prohibiting the military from conducting any further anti-satellite tests that would result in the destruction of an orbiting target satellite.

The ban is focused entirely on preventing further space junk produced by such tests.

It … is extremely limited in scope to testing of direct ascent destructive ASAT missiles — a formulation that leaves open the possibility of using such ASATs in conflict, not to mention testing and use of a host of other types of both destructive (think directed energy) weapons and those such as jammers that create temporary disruptions to functionality.

The goal appears to be to encourage other nations, such as China and Russia, to agree to their own bans. Considering the present state of world tensions, I think that is a pie-in-the-sky expectation. Both Russia and China have made it clear they are pursuing this space military capability aggressively. Neither has indicated the slightest interest in backing off.

The result? The U.S. under our bankrupt establishment leadership has once again unilaterally weakened its capabilities to protect itself, even as other hostile powers work to become stronger. And I say “once again” because this has been the pattern from Washington and Europe now for five decades. Except for outsider Trump, all western leaders have repeatedly acted as if they lived in a fantasy world of unicorns and rainbows. Consider for example Europe’s decision in the past decade to rely on Russia energy. They now find themselves at Russia’s aggressive mercy.

This decision is another example of this pie-in-the-sky approach. Since every previous American anti-satellite test had aimed at satellites already about to burn up in the atmosphere, those tests produced no space junk. Thus, banning the military’s ability to conduct such tests has done nothing to reduce future junk. All it has done is tied the U.S.’s hands, under a fantasy that acting nice will somehow get the Russians and Chinese to do the same.

Debris from Russian anti-satellite test threatens more than ISS

According to an analysis by a commercial space tracking firm, the debris from the satellite destroyed during a Russian anti-satellite test in November threatens not just ISS but many military weather and spy satellites.

Hugh Lewis, head of the Astronautics Research Group at the UK’s University of Southampton, on Monday tweeted an analysis of predicted conjunctions, or close approaches, between satellites and the Cosmos 1408 debris for the first week of January. That analysis showed 8,917 likely conjunctions where a sat and a debris fragment would pass within five kilometers of each other — scarily close in terms of collision risk.

The COMSPOC analysis also shows that Russian government claims that the debris would not harm the International Space Station are blatantly not true. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case.

At the time of ASAT test, COMSPOC listed the ISS as 20th on the list of most imperiled spacecraft. But the analysis shows that risks of a catastrophic collision with the ISS will continue to grow as the debris pieces spiral downward from the impact point into the Earth’s atmosphere, Oltrogge said.

More and more it seems this Russian anti-sat test was a deliberate act of sabotage by the Putin government, aimed at harming U.S. assets.

Russian anti-sat test creates 1500 more pieces of space junk

In what appears to be a test of Russia’s anti-satellite system dubbed Nudol, a defunct Russia satellite has been blasted into approximately 1,500 pieces by a missile launched from Russia.

Under normal circumstances, Kosmos 1408 would not have approached the International Space Station closely enough to pose a threat, however following the breakup, thousands of individual pieces of debris will have scattered into their own orbits. At least 1,500 pieces of debris from the satellite have already been identified by the United States Space Command. However, many smaller objects will have been generated, which will take much longer to identify. With high relative velocities, even a tiny fragment can cause significant damage should it collide with another spacecraft.

Owing to concerns about the debris cloud, the crew aboard the ISS were instructed to close hatches between the space station’s modules and take shelter aboard the Dragon and Soyuz capsules docked to the station.

According to the story at the link, ISS will cut through the expected debris cloud every orbit.

It is amazing that Russia would perform such a test on a satellite with an orbit that close to ISS’s, especially since there are many pieces of abandoned space junk in lower orbits so that their debris clouds would pose little problem, especially because their orbits would decay quickly.

This test is comparable to the Chinese anti-sat test in 2007, which caused a larger debris cloud that still poses a threat to ISS and other working satellites.

According to the Outer Space Treaty, a nation must control the objects it puts in space so that they pose no risk to others. Both the Russian and Chinese anti-sat tests prove these nations have no respect for the treaties they sign.

India claims it has successfully destroyed a satellite using an anti-sat missile

The new colonial movement: In a speech to his nation today, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that they have successfully completed their first anti-sat test, using a missile to destroy a satellite in low Earth orbit.

The Indian ASAT test is believed to have destroyed either the Microsat-R or the Microsat-TD satellite, likelier the former according to some sources. They were both built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). ISRO launched the Microsat-R on January 24 this year and the Microsat-TD a year before that.

Prime Minister Modi declared the test, codenamed Mission Shakti, a success and claimed that an ASAT missile had destroyed the satellite in its low-Earth orbit.

The missile in question is described as a kinetic kill vehicle, which means it does not carry any explosives or other devices. Instead, its ‘kill’ capability arises simply from the fact that it smashes into the target satellite and shatters it using its kinetic energy.

At this altitude, about 300 km, experts said that debris from the collision would fall back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere in a matter of weeks instead of posing a threat to other satellites. As a result, Mission Shakti is called a controlled ASAT test.

What this anti-sat test really demonstrates is India’s ability to to hit a very tiny target that is moving more than 17,000 miles per hour with a missile shot from Earth, which proves they can hit any target on Earth, with great accuracy. And it thus a blunt message to both Pakistan and China. Don’t attack us, because if you do, we have the capability to do you great harm.