The head of U.S. military operations in space said Friday that the U.S. is monitoring Chinese activities for potential threats to American assets as space debris accumulates in lower Earth orbit.
During a telephone news conference with reporters in Asia, Army Gen. James Dickinson, Commander of U.S. Space Command, also hailed the passage of a UN resolution to stop countries from conducting direct-ascent anti satellite tests (ASAT) that create massive fields of space debris, which endanger satellites and space stations.
Of the four countries that have conducted such ASAT tests, the U.S. was the only one to vote in favor of stopping the practice. China and Russia voted no while India abstained.
Space Command is currently tracking more than 48,000 objects in near Earth orbit, including satellites, telescopes, space stations and pieces of debris of all sizes, up from 25,000 just three years ago, Dickinson said.
He further cautioned that even tiny shards of metal can pose a danger to space activities.