CHINA MILITARIZES SPACE: StrategyPage looks at the space debris problem:
While China has now demonstrated its ability to destroy satellites (at the cost of a launcher and a maneuverable KillSat), it has also caused a major stink among the dozens of nations that own, or use (usually via leasing arrangements) the several hundred satellites in orbit. That’s because this Chinese test increased the amount of dangerous space debris by about eight percent. That’s a lot. By common agreement, nations that put up satellites, include the capability for the bird, once it has reached the end of its useful life, will slowly move closer to earth, until it burns up as it enters the thicker atmosphere. This approach leaves no debris, which can collide with other satellites, behind. Even a small piece of satellite debris can, when hitting another satellite at high speed, destroy, or fatally damage, it.
That’s a short-term PR problem. Over the longer term, if the ASAT weapon really works, China has an advantage, of course, in that the United States is far more dependent on satellites than, well, anyone else, making us more vulnerable to an asymmetric attack. I’ve had some thoughts on space weaponry here and here.