US Vice President Kamala Harris announced a unilateral ban of anti-satellite weapons in California on 18 April 2022.
America, along with India, China, and Russia, have successfully ‘killed’ satellites. When destroyed, one satellite can cause 100,000 pieces of debris to fall on other satellites. This is becoming a serious problem as outer space becomes increasingly crowded with private and military satellites orbiting the Earth. For example, SpaceX has been granted permission to launch over 12,000 satellites in the next few years.
According to the Kesseler syndrome, with more and larger satellites and debris, it’s becoming more likely that more debris will trigger more satellite collisions and, in turn, more debris.
The US government is moving to develop ‘norms and responsible behaviour’ in outer space that will be gradually adopted worldwide.