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Australia Commits to Abstain from ASAT Missile Test


Credit: Australian Space Agency

Ibadan, 2 November 2022. – The Australian Government has announced its commitment never to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti‑satellite missile testing, consistent with its role as a responsible actor in space. When a party performs such tests, these tests generate large amounts of debris that remain in space for years. The debris subsequently threatens satellites and other space objects, risking the long-term sustainability of human activity in space.

According to the release, Australia views the use of these missiles to destroy space objects as reckless and irresponsible, posing threats to the space assets of all nations. As a result, Australia joins the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, and the Republic of Korea in making this commitment toward a safer, more stable, and peaceful space domain.

Australia has actively participated in the United Nations Open Ended Working Group on reducing space threats through norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviors.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Hon Richard Marles MP, stated that “destructive testing of direct-ascent anti-satellite missiles threatens the security of vital systems in space, which Australia and other nations depend on every day. With this pledge, the Government is demonstrating Australia’s commitment to act responsibly to protect our national security interests.”

Likewise, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, added “The global community must work together to build a common understanding on rules and norms that can guide how states behave in outer space. This commitment to responsible behavior helps build a meaningful framework that contributes to the security, safety, and sustainability of outer space.”

Additionally, Minister for Industry and Science, Hon Ed Husic MP, suggested that “Space technologies support critical services that improve national well-being and economic prosperity. This commitment is a responsible step to help ensure space assets are protected for the benefit of all Australians.”

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