Rubio pushes White House on bill to establish space debris sanctions

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is pushing the Biden administration to back his bill that would create a structure for imposing sanctions on nations that create space debris after Vice President Harris this week said the U.S. would avoid tests that could leave space wreckage behind.

“I am glad the Biden Administration is calling attention to the national security risks, but it will take more than naming and shaming Moscow and Beijing to change their behavior,” Rubio said in a statement after the Harris announcement. “There needs to be accountability and consequences.”

Rubio’s DEBRIS Act would lay out a path to impose sanctions on any country whose actions creates space debris, which the bill defines as “any human-made, Earth-orbiting object or fragment of an object that is nonfunctional and for which there is no reasonable expectation of assuming or resuming its intended function.”

The senator’s appeal to the White House comes after Harris on Monday announced that the U.S. will avoid testing anti-satellite missiles, urging other nations to follow the lead of the Biden administration after a Russian test last November created a field of debris in space.

The administration believes reducing the missile tests in space will reduce the risk of conflict there and keep it clearer of debris and materials that would prohibit exploration or damage the environment.

The threat of the anti-satellite missile tests came into the spotlight last November when Russia tested a missile that struck a defunct space satellite, leaving at least 1,500 pieces of trackable space debris and hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces in its wake.

Tags Joe Biden Kamala Harris Marco Rubio sanctions space space debris

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