Please keep Vice President Kamala Harris out of the space force. Instead of visiting America’s southern border and even Ukraine, Vice President Harris traveled home to California for a big speech at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday.
“Space is exciting!” Harris cooed that artificially bright tone we use for six-year-olds who confront broccoli at dinner. “It affects us all and unites us all,” she continued. Spoiler alert: it gets worse.
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US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hear former US President Barack Obama talk about the Affordable and Medicaid Act at the White House in Washington, US, April 5, 2022. REUTERS / Leah Millis (REUTERS / Leah Millis)
As members of the space forces lined up behind her for the big speech, Harris announced that the United States would stop “destructive satellite tests” in which your missile would blow up your own old satellite in orbit. “These tests are dangerous and we will not do them,” said Harris. Then she called on all nations, including China and Russia, to join the ban.
Here’s the kicker: The United States has no plans to blow up satellites. The only true American anti-satellite test was in 1985. It was actually a pretty cool event, involving an Air Force F-15 fighter and a special missile. Then, in 2008, the United States shot down a broken spy satellite, carefully measuring the impact to have the debris burned in the atmosphere.
But this is it. That’s the entire US record, two anti-satellite shots. Harris’s unilateral promise to stop something the United States wasn’t doing anyway was crazy.
US Vice President Kamala Harris at an Affordable Family Healthcare Cost-Reduction Act event in the White House East Room in Washington, USA on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. President Biden announced additional efforts to save families hundreds of dollars a month in care health. Photographer: Al Drago / Bloomberg
Putin and Xi laugh at her. China does not exercise arms control. In addition, China has plans to dominate space. China responded on Tuesday by inviting all UN members to its space station and flooding a party spokesman for People’s Daily with photos of three Chinese astronauts who had just returned to Earth on April 13.
When it comes to Russia, I doubt that responsible behavior in space is at the top of Putin’s priority list. In addition, on November 15, 2021, Russia blew up the satellite in orbit.
The attempt to make Harris an international space diplomat is another sign of the collapse of the White House in foreign policy.
All she did was enrage the members of Congress who are experts in space policy. Colorado international Doug Lamborn called Harris’s move “completely unnecessary”, while Alabama international Mike Rogers said “nothing scares our opponents away.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, in the center, stands with Thomas Elementary School Principal Jaimee Trahan (left) and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (right), talking to students during a visit to Thomas Elementary School in Washington on Monday, April 4, 2022. Harris visits announced plans to modernize public schools with clean, energy-efficient facilities and transportation. (Photo AP / Susan Walsh)
One more point regarding her speaking style. The Joint Space Operations Center that Harris visited is an incredible command center where US space forces and allies observe and track our satellites and keep an eye on 29,000 space debris and nearly 2,700 satellites passing through many countries. They call it J-Spock. I don’t know why, but she sounded like she was talking to these professionals.
Makes you wonder if it was just a political move by her staff. Harris as vice chairman chairs the National Space Council. He is the best dog in American space policy. The White House factsheet for her big speech claimed that “a significant reduction in ASAT testing and garbage generation contributes to improving the national security of the United States.” However, attempting to make Harris credible ended in failure due to lousy political stance.
FILE – On May 15, 2020, Photo File, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman shows his insignia at a United States Space Force flag display at the White House Oval Office in Washington, DC. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon, file) ((AP Photo / Alex Brandon, file))
Space is a big deal. The loss of global positioning satellites operated by the US Air Force would cost Americans at least $ 1 billion a day. I am strongly opposed to orbital debris, as is the Space Forces. In fact, they fire larger constellations of smaller satellites, so the entire network won’t go down if one satellite is hit – either accidentally or on purpose.
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Unfortunately, Russia and China just don’t care. Russia launched 1,500 space debris into orbit in November, joining 2,800 in China in 2007. Both nations have different weapons, such as the Chinese ground-based laser zapper. They can also perform nasty orbital tricks, such as deliberate collisions that throw satellites out of orbit or damage sensitive optics and antennas.
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Russia and China pose a real threat to the US in space. Harris will not change his mind.
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