NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said while the risk of the ISS went up 44 per cent the astronauts are still safe. File
05 April, 2019, 08:26
India on March 27 had become a "space superpower" with the successfully testing an anti-satellite weapon under "Mission Shakti" where it destroyed its own decommissioned satellite that was hovering in the Low Earth Orbit (LOE) at a height of 300 Km from the earth's surface.
The state department's softball approach to the test contrasted sharply with the hardline taken by the NASAAdministratorJim Bridenstine who characterized the Indian test as a "terrible, awful thing" that endangered the ISS and said it is "unacceptable" and "that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight".
India's decision to shoot down one of its own satellites in a bid to flex its military space muscle is a "terrible, bad thing" and not sustainable or compatible with human spaceflight, NASA's highest-ranked official has warned.
Media captionIs India's prime minister right when he calls his country a space superpower?
The US space agency said that the anti-satellite test created 400 pieces of debris in the lower orbit and has put the International Space Station (ISS) at risk. While the vast majority of global defense budgets are still used to purchase conventional arms, experts are warning that space is increasingly becoming a new frontier for some of the world's best-equipped militaries.
"India stands tall as a space power!" India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said it kept in mind concerns related to debris in space. "Whatever debris is generated will decay and fall back onto the Earth within weeks". Precedent, however, suggests it could take much longer than that; in 2008, the USA 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. This included 60 pieces which were larger than 10 cm in diameter, and 24 of which were travelling through the orbit of the ISS, which led them to raise the risk rate to ISS by 44 percent.
The latest fragments add to the growing problem of space debris orbiting the Earth. "It will make India stronger, even more secure and will further peace and harmony", Modi tweeted shortly after the test.
"We want to achieve a Mars landing in 2033, but in order to do that we have to accelerate other parts of the programme, the Moon is a big piece of that", the administrator told the congressional Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Some have suggested constructing smaller satellites that could orbit at lower altitudes and escape the potentially deadly debris cloud above. India boasted of being one of the only four countries in the world equipped with a missile that can reach the space. When one country does it, other countries feel like they have to do it as well.
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