New Zealand joins the worldwide ban on ASAT testing

In an anti-satellite weapon’s test, often known as an ASAT test, a spaceship in orbit is obliterated by a missile system. Historically, nations have targeted their space assets when conducting ASAT tests.

The New Zealand government has officially become part of a US-spearheaded ban on the testing of damaging direct-ascent antisatellite (ASAT) missiles in an effort to achieve support for a global ban on such tests.

Nanaia Mahuta, the foreign minister of New Zealand, declared in a speech at the University of Otago on July 1 that her country will join the US in refraining from conducting such “irresponsible” ASAT tests due to the obvious debris they create, which raises the possibility of satellite collisions.

According to an official translation of her address, she stated, “Today, I’m thrilled to reveal that Aotearoa New Zealand is going to join this proclamation and make the same commitment.  We won’t test damaging direct-ascent anti-satellite missiles,”

As the nation had never produced nor sought to deploy direct-ascent ASATs, the ruling has no real-world impact on New Zealand’s space activities. She stated, “We do not possess the capability, nor are we attempting to develop it. Nevertheless, “our pledge is a further demonstration of our international commitment towards the formation of standards and norms.”

The inaugural meeting of an OEWG (Open-Ended Working Group) on responsible space behaviors, which was held in Geneva in May, was one of those events, as Mahuta mentioned in her speech. The first of four meetings were held over a two-year period to establish standards and guidelines for conduct that might potentially result in legally binding agreements, that session was the first of four.

She referred to the OEWG conference and said, “We are merely at the start of that procedure, yet we are hopeful that this strategy can result in a realistic and positive resolution. “Making sure the regulations continue to serve their intended purpose will take time and continual attention. This might eventually include the drafting of a full treaty with legal force.”

The Canadian government declared its support for the American ban on ASAT testing during that OEWG conference. At the summit, officials of various nations indicated support for the ban without legally acceding to it, despite the fact that no other nations had publicly joined it.

The United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office’s Clive Hughes, who oversees space security and cutting-edge threats, said during a discussion panel at the Fourth Summit for Space Sustainability on June 23 that “we obviously welcome the U.S. commitment.” The U.N. resolution creating the OEWG was championed by the U.K. An ASAT testing ban, he said, “has to be at the heart of the sort of ethical behaviors we’re seeking to urge via the U.N. Open-Ended Working Group process.”

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