Debris from anti-satellite test no danger to ISS, India says

07 April, 2019, 00:28 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Pentagon says India debris expected to burn up in atmosphere

Debris from Indian anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test conducted on 27 March would burn up in the atmosphere, Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday, despite NASA administrator warning of the left-over debris.

Reddy, at a briefing held at the DRDO Bhawan here, said the interceptor had the capability to intercept satellites in orbit of 1,000 km. But the ASAT test was "intentionally done at a lower orbit of 280 km to ensure that the debris decay very fast", Reddy said.

NASA head Jim Bridenstine criticized India for the weapon test stating that NASA had identified 400 pieces of orbital debris and was tracking 60 pieces that are larger than 10cm in diameter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed the A-SAT test's success as "an unprecedented achievement" that makes India a "space power".

Elaborating further about the A-Sat test conducted on March 27, he said, "The interceptor that has been used for this objective is a three stage vehicle with two stages of solid propellant and then a kill vehicle".

Reacting to former Union Minister P Chidambaram's statement where he said that such capabilities need to be kept secret, he said, "A mission of this nature after the test is conducted can not be kept secret technically". "The satellite is tracked by many stations across the world".

Reddy also said that there was no need for any more tests in this orbit now.

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India has been on the defensive following the March 27 test that Nasa branded a "terrible thing" that had created new dangers for astronauts aboard the ISS.

Decisions on the weaponisation of space would be taken by the government, Reddy said. The idea began around 2014 and development started in 2016 with a go-ahead from the government.

Speaking about the reports of a failed test in February this year before the actual test, Reddy said, "DRDO has been regularly conducting some tests with electronic targets".

India's ASAT test catapulted the country into an exclusive club of nations to acquire such a capability - the other countries being the US, Russia and China.

He had earlier outlined, "We have a strong strategic partnership with India, and we will continue to pursue shared interests in space, in scientific and technical cooperation with India, and that includes collaboration on safety and security in space".

About 150 scientists worked round-the-clock in the past six months and about 2,000 components were sourced from 50 private industries.

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