Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023
Private Space Companies Call for an End to Destructive Anti-Satellite Testing

Over two dozen private space companies have signed a statement supporting the cessation of destructive anti-satellite testing in space. Such testing poses a significant threat to space systems and the long-term sustainability of the space environment. In recent years, Russia, India, China, and the US have all demonstrated anti-satellite capabilities, resulting in the creation of dangerous orbital debris. The International Space Station, the Chinese Tiangong station, and numerous private and government-owned satellites have been forced to undertake avoidance maneuvers as a result.

Led by the Secure World Foundation, an organization promoting peaceful and sustainable uses of outer space, this initiative aims to build consensus and gather support to end destructive anti-satellite tests. This effort is open to companies worldwide, emphasizing the economic value of space and the risks that such tests pose. The United States has already committed to refraining from conducting debris-generating anti-satellite tests, with several other nations, including Japan, Germany, and France, having pledged their support as well.

Signing on to the statement are numerous companies involved in satellite building and management, such as Planet, Amazon, and Iridium. A noticeable absence, however, is the lack of participation from large contractors for the US Defense Department and launch companies. The Secure World Foundation anticipates that more companies will join in the future, as the initiative gains traction.

The objective is to establish international norms of responsible behavior in space and ensure the predictability, sustainability, and safety of the space environment. By preventing the escalation of dangerous debris and risks to economic activity and innovation in low Earth orbit, this initiative aims to safeguard space systems, commercial spacecraft, and the space-based services that humanity relies on daily.