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Deputy Secretary Graves Statement on Direct-Ascent Anti-Satellite Missile Tests


Today, following the announcement by Vice President Harris that the United States would not conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile tests, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves issued the following statement:

“The Commerce Department welcomes the announcement by Vice President Harris not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile tests. Space should be a safe place to operate the thousands of satellites that provide boundless benefits to people around the globe. Previous tests conducted by the Peoples’ Republic of China in 2007 and the Russian Federation in November 2021 created significant debris hazards for all low-earth orbiting satellites. 

“The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates its own network of environmental satellites and supports the economic expansion of space-based industries through its Office of Space Commerce.

“Satellites operated by NOAA, and our international mission partners, are our ‘eyes in the sky’. They provide a host of critical environmental information including weather monitoring and forecasting of rapidly developing severe weather events, crucial information on natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and wildfires, and warnings of geomagnetic storms. Information from these satellites support forecasts and warnings that in turn provide individuals, municipalities, emergency managers, businesses, and other decision makers with vital data on a daily basis. 

“This new commitment announced by the Vice President helps protect U.S. interests in space, including our space-based environmental monitoring platforms. Meaningfully reducing ASAT testing and debris generation advances U.S. national security interests and protects long-term U.S. interests in space exploration, space science, and space-enabled economic development.”