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U.S. military was immediately aware of India’s anti-satellite missile test

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As soon as the launch was detected, U.S. House Command instantly began notifying satellite tv for pc operators.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. army’s early warning and surveillance community on Wednesday at 1:39AM EST detected India’s missile launch aimed toward one in every of its personal satellites in low Earth orbit.

“We have been conscious,” stated Lt. Gen. David D. Thompson, vice commander of Air Pressure House Command.

As soon as the launch was detected, “we instantly began offering notification to satellite tv for pc operators,” Thompson stated on Wednesday throughout a listening to of the Senate Armed Companies Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces.

The anti-satellite weapon test carried out by India’s Protection Analysis and Growth Group was code named “Mission Shakti.” A missile launched from the bottom slammed right into a satellite tv for pc at an altitude of about 300 kilometers.

Thompson declined to specify the precise elevation because it could be labeled. He famous that the Worldwide House Station was “not in danger.”

The problem was raised on the listening to by the subcommittee’s rating member Sen. Martin Heinrich, who requested Thompson concerning the danger that such checks may pose to U.S. and allied satellites.

Thompson stated the 11th House Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Pressure Base, Colorado, detected the launch. The Nationwide House Protection Heart at Schriever Air Pressure Base, Colorado; and the 18th House Management Squadron at Vandenberg Air Pressure Base, California, additionally supported the hassle. “No different nation or different army, or civil company may have detected, characterised and warned” a couple of menace in house, he stated.

In response to Heinrich’s query on whether or not DoD supported a “code of conduct” for house actions, Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary of protection for homeland protection and world safety, stated the Pentagon is “concerned in discussions internationally” about using anti-satellite weapons however famous that house safety is an effort led by the State Division.

“We’ve participated in non biding confidence constructing measures related to actions in house,” he stated. “We’re proponents of protected and sustainable house and the minimization of house particles.”

Talking with reporters after the listening to, Thompson stated a majority of these checks are “all the time regarding and pose a danger definitely to our satellites and all satellites.” Any time a check like happens it’s a priority, stated Thompson. “It’s not only a matter of whether or not it’s a danger to simply our satellites, however once they generate particles that could be there for a very long time, it might need cascading results.”

The Joint House Operations Heart at Vandenberg, which is a part of U.S. Strategic Command, maintains an area catalog that tracks particles and different objects. The middle operates the House Surveillance Community, a worldwide system of ground-based radars together with ground-based and orbital telescopes.

The hazard of house particles and the necessity for larger consciousness of potential threats additionally got here up on Wednesday at a listening to of the Home Appropriations Committee’s commerce justice and science subcommittee.

NASA Administration James Bridenstine stated there’s a want for higher house situational consciousness and particles monitoring. The issue may worsen if extra nations begin testing anti-satellite weapons. “Particles finally ends up being there for a very long time,” Bridenstine stated. “If we wreck house, we’re not getting it again.”

Destroying a satellite tv for pc deliberately and creating particles is “fallacious,” he insisted. “Some folks like to check anti-satellite capabilities deliberately and create orbital particles fields that we right now are nonetheless coping with. And those self same nations come to us for house situational consciousness due to the particles area they themselves created.” The house situational consciousness supplied by the U.S. army is paid by the American taxpayer and supplied to the world free of charge, he stated. “So your complete world must step up and say, ‘In case you’re going to do that, you’re going to pay a consequence.’”

SpaceNews senior author Jeff Foust contributed to this report


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