Pakistan concerned over India's ASAT test

Mindy Sparks
April 4, 2019

"That is a bad, awful thing, to create an event that sends debris into an apogee that goes above the International Space Station", said Bridenstine at the town hall.

There are estimated to be about 900,000 pieces of debris larger than a marble in orbit around the Earth, according to statistical models cited by the European Space Agency.

NASA has calculated that the debris from India's ASAT test has increased the probability of debris hitting the ISS by at least 44 percent over 10 days, with 24 of the 60 pieces it is tracking now travelling above the apogee of the ISS.

A view of Earth as seen from the Cupola on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station on June 12, 2013. "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see have happen", he had said.

India is the fourth country to have carried out such a test.

NASA said that India shot its satellite to pieces, posing an "unacceptable" risk to astronauts on the ISS.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who heads into a general election later this month, hailed the test as a sign of India's arrival as a "space power".

NASA and Combined Space Operations Centre reportedly identified 400 pieces of space from India's A-SAT test.

"The test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris", said an Indian foreign ministry statement. Precedent, however, suggests it could take much longer than that; in 2008, the United States destroyed a defunct satellite at an altitude of 250 kilometres (150 miles), and it took about 18 months for all the material to fall back to Earth, according to SpaceflightNow. The ASAT test means that India is now one of four countries to have carried out a kinetic, direct-ascent ASAT missile test along with the United States, Russia, and China.

Even collisions with tiny objects can be catastrophic in space, largely due to the pace at which spacecraft are moving in orbit, a minimum of 7.8km per second. If current schedules hold, SpaceX's first crewed flight would send two NASA astronauts to the station and back in July, months before Boeing can do so.

Bridenstine said NASA was preparing a request for additional funding to achieve the 2024 ambitious Moon landing goal. "The good thing is, it's low enough in Earth orbit that over time this will all dissipate", he said.

"Destroying satellites orbiting in altitude bands that are heavily used for both military and civil satellites also can have ripple effects, producing risky clouds of debris that could stay in orbit for decades or centuries, disabling or destroying any satellites they collide with", said Grego in a statement.

"We are learning more and more every hour that goes by about this orbital debris that has been created from this anti-satellite test".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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