DRDO official rejects NASA's claims, says 'A-SAT debris will disappear in 45 days'
New Delhi : NASA on Tuesday raised concerns over the debris formed due to India's destruction of one of its own satellites; the agency called it a 'terrible thing' as over 400 pieces of orbital debris have been created and are dangerous for the astronauts in the International Space Station.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) chief Jim Bridenstine said and AFP quoted, “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."
The Indian satellite was destroyed at a low altitude of 300 kilometres, well below the ISS and most satellites in orbit. But 24 pieces “are going above the apogee of the ISS,” said Bridenstine. The ISS apogee is at 408km. “That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,” Bridenstine said. “That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight.”
While ISRO declined to make any comment and said the operation was executed by the DRDO. An official of DRDO, who wished to keep his name a secret, told Hindustan Times that the debris will disappear in 45 days. “The test was calibrated keeping in mind the debris issue. The world should know that debris from two Chinese tests is still floating whereas those created by the Indian test will disappear,” he added.
An Indian expert said that India conducted the anti-satellite test responsibly but agreed it could have raised risks for the ISS. “I would say India conducted the test responsibly. At 300km, the altitude is lower than that of the ISS and most of the other satellites and the debris will come back to the atmosphere of the earth eventually. That said, there is a possibility that some debris might enter the apogee of the space station; the risk of collision increases as it does with any object sent to space ,” said Rajeswari Rajagopalan, head of nuclear and space initiative, Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has officially announced that an anti-satellite missile test has been conducted successfully.