While India is celebrating the successful launch of the ASAT, Jim Bridestine, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) head, said, on the 2nd of April, this act by India was a “terrible thing.”
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO,) the anti satellite (ASAT) system was India’s first missile created in an attempt to end space warfare. Fourth in the world after China, Russia and the United States, India developed the ASAT missiles to track and attack moving satellites. On the 27th of March, India successfully launched the first anti satellite missile and destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit.
However, according to the NASA, the shooting down of this satellite by India resulted in the creation of over 400 pieces of space debris, which is extremely dangerous for the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS.)
Addressing the employees of NASA, Jim Bridenstine said, the team is working on tracking and removing the newly formed debris. “What we are tracking right now, objects big enough to track — we’re talking about 10 centimetres (six inches) or bigger — about 60 pieces have been tracked,” said Jim.
Jim Bridestine further stated, not all the pieces are big enough to be tracked. Twenty four pieces are above the International Space Station, making it difficult for NASA to find them.
“That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station. That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight,” said Jim, while talking about the issue.
The United States Military is currently tracking down over 23,000 objects larger than 10 cm, including 10,000 pieces of space debris.
The risk of collisions between the debris and the ISS increased by over 44 % with the launch of the ASAT. However, the risk is expected to reduce over a period of time as the debris will burn once they enter the atmosphere.
Stay tuned for more updates.