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Weapons: Testing

Defence written question – answered on 10th January 2008.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records his Department holds on (a) the testing of weapons in space by other Governments over the last 10 years, (b) the volume of debris in low earth orbit which relates to such testing and (c) the potential effects of such debris; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

We have no evidence suggesting that any state has conducted tests of space-based weapons in the past 10 years. China conducted a successful anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test against its own space asset on 11 January 2007, but the missile itself was ground launched and hence, not stationed in space. The UK has expressed its concern to China about the potential impact of the additional debris this ASAT test created.

The British National Space Centre (BNSC) conducts regular assessments of the volume of space debris in orbit and the potential threat this poses to UK assets.

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