Can we all agree not to do this?

With the recent ASAT test of Russia we were reminded that some decision makers still think kinetic ASATs are a viable thing and not just mad. An international ban of kinetic kill vehicles will likely take forever therefore I propose something else: let us pledge not to do it. Without scientists and engineers these things cannot be done. If enough persons and businesses stop to support this nonsense it will at some point become impossible. Let’s do it!


If you come from the military an anti satellite weapon might seem to make sense. You have guns against soft targets, anti tank weapons, anti aircraft guns, anti ship rockets – why not anti satellite weapons, too?

Anti tank , anti aircraft, anti ship…

so Anti Satellite Weapons are ok, too?

You could not be more wrong!

The answer is simple: unlike any of the weapons before a weapon that aims for the kinetic destruction of a satellite will not only destroy the target and then be gone. It will also create a debris cloud which itself will go on an knock out further satellites.

Unlink mines ASATs remain dangerous after they explode. In fact what they destroy adds to the perpetual danger.

This is seriously much worse than land mines. With mines you have a chance to remove them and in addition an exploded mine will not cause future harm. This is not the case for an deployed kinetic anti satellite weapon. This poisonous fruit will continue to wreck havoc.

ASAT tests are among the worst offenders when it comes to space debris

In any orbit above 600km this debris cloud will stay there decades after the armed conflict is over. In some orbits like GEO it will stay there forever with no chance of removal.

…but everyone is doing it… and I will look weak if I don’t

Bullshit. Are you 16 year olds, with big egos and bigger inferiority complex, yet? If not I urge you to behave like adults. If you need ways to disable your enemies orbital capabilities, there are plenty of others that do not render the earth orbit uninhabitable for all. You can hack your opponents satellites, you can jam them, dazzle them, literally do anything to make them not useful during combat operation just don’t shoot it down.

There are a million ways to disable your opponents space capabilities, of which a kinetic weapon is the worst choice!

Seriously, kinetic anti satellite weapons are MAD! As nuclear weapons they guarantee mutually assured destruction. You cannot use them, you should not use them and like nuclear you should not test them, too.

It is an illusion to think you can use an ASAT with surgical precision. The debris will proliferate and preventing any use of satellites for everyone, potentially for ever.

The whole notion to build a precision kinetic ASAT weapon is nonsensical. Imagine a surgeon that uses a scalpel to remove a tumor of a patient and after successful operation the the scalpel would go on to kill everyone in the room including doctor, patient and any visitor to the hospital for decades to come.

An kinetic ASAT should be banned. Everyone still doing it should be treated like a pariah.

We therefore need to agree not to do it. No tests, no show of force that we can do it, no actual use. Preferably in an international treaty under worldwide observation make everyone who still does it look like the pariah that they are. Unfortunately, this will take time. It should however not stop us from taking action now.

My Pledge: I will not support kinetic ASAT weapons.

Therefore I will make my stance on the matter public: I do condone kinetic anti satellite weapons (test or real application). I will not support it, no matter how attractive they pay or big the (business) opportunity. This is my pledge.

I pledge that I will not support kinetic anti satellite weapons in any capacity.

Since kinetic anti satellite weapons are machines that are built by engineers and scientists I an reaching out to you my friends in Russia, in the United States of America, in China and in India: do the same, don’t support these weapons. Always remember it is engineers like you and me who enable these weapons. That means it is in our hands to stop, it.

There will be no such weapons without engineers like you and me. So let’s agree to not built, test or use them.

If you think, meh I am powerless. If I don’t do it somebody else will, then I would like to remind you that the peaceful revolution in East Germany stayed peaceful because the boarder guards collectively decided they will not shoot on November 9th 1989.

How can you help:

This text is part of a series of articles in which the author sets the framework to start a discussion about the wrongs of the space industry. If you have experienced similar things, leave a comment. Other views and opinions are very welcome, too, as they may present a way forward. Please be kind to each other.


The author’s views are his own do not represent the views of Berlin Space Technologies.






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