Sunday, 21 July, 2019

India claims space debris poses minimal threat

Pentagon says India debris expected to burn up in atmosphere Swiss start-up embarks on space cleaning mission
Sandra Phillips | 06 April, 2019, 21:11

Only 3 other countries, the United States, Russia and China, have ASAT capabilities.

The danger from "space junk" is not that it falls to Earth but that it collides with orbiting satellites.

With the test done last month, India has mastered the capability to kill satellites at 300 km above the earth, Reddy said.

The letter comes days after NASA chief Bridenstine in a town hall meeting criticized India's anti-satellite missile (ASAT) test because of the debris it generated in the space.

However, India's top defence scientist had said the debris would burn up in 45 days. "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight", Bridenstine said at a NASA townhall with employees on Monday.

The US space agency has said that cooperation with ISRO remains intact despite India doing "terrible thing" for creating about 400 pieces of orbital debris.

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"That is a bad, awful thing to create an event that sends debris and an apogee that goes above the International Space Station. We have conducted the test on 12th February against an electronic target which has given a lot of information for us with many applications". "From our simulation, we can very clearly say that the possibilities of (debris) hitting the ISS are not there", Reddy said. The issue of space junk is also one which India argues will be solved by the low orbit of the satellite. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a televised announcement to address the test, claiming that India had now established itself as a space power joining only the U.S., Russian Federation and China in conducting anti-satellite tests per Reuters.

Nearly all the technologies used for the ASAT test were indigenously developed with some 50 industries contributing components for the 13 metre missiles weighing 19 tonnes. The idea began around 2014 and development started in 2016 with a go-ahead from the government.

"There was a risk for 10 days and we have crossed that period", he told a press conference.

Reddy also emphasized that India had planned and conducted the test responsibly.

The test of the anti-satellite weapon makes India the fourth country to have carried out such a test.

Reacting to Congress leader P. Chidambaram's comment that it was foolish to let out secrets such as possession of such a technology, Reddy said mission of this nature post-test can not be kept secret technically as a satellite is tracked by many stations across the world.

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