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VP Harris announces the end of "destructive" missile tests during visit to Vandenberg

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Vandenberg Space Force Base.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Vandenberg Space Force Base on Monday and received updates on the work being done there.

During a visit to the Central Coast today, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the U.S. will no longer conduct anti-satellite missile tests in space, ending what she called a "destructive" practice and pushing for new international norms of space cooperation.

Harris announced the news at Vandenberg Space Force Base near the Lompoc in Santa Barbara County.

After meeting with members of the Space Force and U.S. Space Command, the Vice President told media that the move to end anti-satellite missile tests was a matter of national security.

Vandenberg Space Force Base
The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, before the Space Force Base designation.

“These weapons are intended to deny the United States our ability to use our space capabilities by destroying our satellites," Harris said.

Harris pointed specifically to Russia and China’s past use of these tests and the debris they create in space, though the U.S. has also conducted them. She said pieces of debris can take out entire satellites, endangering people and equipment in space but also disrupting life on the ground.

“This debris presents a risk to the safety of our astronauts, our satellites and our growing commercial presence. It could affect the daily weather forecast, GPS driving directions and even your favorite television station.”

Harris stressed that the U.S. is the first country to end this practice, but also encouraged others to do the same and brought up the Artemis Accords. That’s an international agreement promoting cooperation in space.

“Our administration has already begun to establish a broader and comprehensive set of norms.”

The Vice President’s visit to Vandenberg comes after news that the base is under consideration as a potential future home of the Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM, a training and education hub for U.S. space operations.

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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