While India demoed its ASAT capabilities, NASA disapproved of it saying over 400 pieces of space debris were created that could be a threat to the ISS and the astronauts within. An ISRO scientist has now said that the debris will burn out in a span of six months.
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Indian recently demonstrated its capabilities of destroying low orbit satellite using an anti-satellite missile system. India became the fourth nation in the world to be capable of achieving the feat via Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) and the operation was named Mission Shakti. However, NASA head Jim Bridenstine had condemned the act saying that it resulted in the creation of 400 pieces of space debris that are posing a threat to the International Space Station, and the astronauts that reside within it. In response, Tapan Misra, a senior adviser to the ISRO chairman said that the missile destroyed the satellite at about 300km in space where the wind pressure is low and the debris will be burned out in a span of six months.
Misra is the former director of Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC), which is an arm of ISRO that is working on India’s Gaganyaan space mission. The Indian Express reports that replying to a query on NASA’s concern at an open session at the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Misra claimed that the ASAT experiment carried out by DRDO was “not an explosion”, but was more like a “bullet.” Additionally, Misra added that much of the existing space debris is already being tracked by different countries via a network of telescopes, cameras and radars. “They are cooperating with each other… If you see space debris (in a collision course), you can always change the course of the satellite.”
China was the third nation to be able to destroy low orbit satellites. “The Chinese did an experiment at 800-kilometer altitude where the air pressure is not much. The debris is still flying around,” Misra said. “Knowing the ability of the Indian scientists, I am sure they have done it the right way, with all calculations and in a way that will not cause any shame to India. Because it is in the 300-kilometer range, it will dissipate much faster.”
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