India's satellite destruction could endanger ISS

Mindy Sparks
April 5, 2019

Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared his nation an "established space power" after it destroyed a low-orbit satellite.

As a result of the Indian test, the risk of collision with the ISS has increased by 44% over 10 days, Bridenstine said.

"The issue of space debris, that's an important concern for United States and I would say that we took note of Indian Government's statements that the test was created to address space debris issues", US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said on NASA's remarks.

"Pakistan has noted with deep concern the assessment of relevant organizations and worldwide experts on the threats resulting from space debris generated by the recently conducted Anti-Satellite weapon test by India".

Arms control advocates have expressed concern about the increasing militarisation of space. "India registered its name as a space power". President Trump announced the creation of a U.S. Space Force last June, and China, India and other nations are also doubling down on defense-related space ambitions.


Prof Roddam Narasimha, Indian aerospace scientist and fluid dynamicist who was Director of the Bengaluru-based National Aerospace Laboratories, downplayed the threat to the ISS, saying: "The altitude at which India conducted the test was below that of the ISS". Precedent, however, suggests it could take much longer than that; in 2008, the U.S. 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. They are now tracking around 23,000 objects which are bigger than 10 centimetres.

The JFSCC said it will continue to actively track debris associated with the event and issue close approach notifications as required until the debris enters the earth's atmosphere. "Whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back on to the Earth within weeks", it said. While it's entirely legal for a nation to shoot down one of its own satellites, the display does raise questions about the goal of such risky endeavours.

The latest fragments add to the growing problem of space debris orbiting the Earth. The Nasa chief said "a lot" of the debris created by that remained in orbit. "Even if we had the political will to [salvage junk], which I don't think we do, we couldn't bring down the big pieces because we don't own them", Joan Johnson-Freese, a Naval War College professor, told The Washington Post in 2014. In orbit, we have 2,000 functional satellites.

The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement stated that the technological test was carried out to verify that India has the capability to safeguard its space assets. It was the first time that India has ever successfully tested such technology.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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