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France vows not to test anti-satellite missiles

Asia ( - France was the first to respond to the UN's call not to test destructive direct-lift anti-satellite missiles. It is known that the destruction of decommissioned satellites leads to the formation of debris fields that can jeopardize other space infrastructure, writes today, November 30, the Aero Time portal.

"France has never carried out such tests, which it considers destabilizing and irresponsible," the country's Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. “They are the source of a large amount of debris, which can have serious consequences for space security, in particular, due to the violation of the integrity of satellites in orbit.”

On November 15, 2021, the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) was put on high alert after Russian ASAT tests created an orbital debris field. During the test, Russia destroyed one of its spacecraft, a one-ton spy satellite called Cosmos-1408, the publication recalls.

China and India tested similar weapons in 2007 and 2019 respectively. However, it was the United States that was the first to use such strike systems, notes the author of the publication Clement Charpentraud.

On September 13, 1985, an F-15A took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and destroyed a malfunctioning solar observation spacecraft with an ASM-135 anti-satellite missile.

A resolution titled "Testing Destructive Direct Takeoff Anti-Satellite Missiles" was drafted by the United States and approved by the UN General Assembly on October 31, 2022. The document urged "all states to commit themselves not to conduct destructive tests of direct takeoff anti-satellite missiles" because they have a "large-scale and irreversible impact on the space environment."

In its pledge yesterday, France "fully supported this new standard of responsible behavior and its universalization within the multilateral framework of the United Nations".

Even if a ban on anti-satellite missiles becomes widespread, spacecraft, which are becoming increasingly important for military and civilian operations, will not be completely safe. Other less destructive methods, such as space drones or blinding lasers, are being developed around the world to neutralize the orbital capabilities of potential adversaries, the expert states.

In July 2022, President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a space command within the French Air Force, which was transformed into the Aerospace Forces of the Fifth Republic. Among its missions, the French Space Command (CDE) tracks over 10,000 objects in orbit. To counter threats to its space infrastructure, CDE plans to acquire patrol satellites equipped with cameras and powerful lasers. A similar device called Yoda is due to be tested in 2023.

France vows not to test anti-satellite missiles