Published: Fri, April 05, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

United States downplays NASA's criticism of India over space debris — ASAT

United States downplays NASA's criticism of India over space debris — ASAT

The debris created by the Indian test will have a much less lasting impact on orbital safety than the ones the other space powers have left behind, says Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.

Bridenstine said the anti-satellite weapon created at least 400 pieces of debris, including 60 fragments that are four inches across or larger.

However, Mr Bridenstine admitted that the agency was working on an amendment to its budget request to deal with the accelerated shift towards the Moon.

The Indian Foreign Ministry initially defended its antisatellite test last week, saying in a statement, "Whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the Earth within weeks".

"The issue of space debris, that is an important concern for the United States, and I would say that we took note of the Indian Government's statements that the test was created to address space debris issues", Palladino said. Need to Address Gaps in International Space Laws, Says Pakistan After India's A-SAT Test. "We will continue to work with like-minded countries to address gaps in the worldwide legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space with a view to ensuring that no one threatens peaceful activities and applications of space technologies for socio-economic development". That includes about 10,000 pieces of space debris, of which almost 3,000 were created by a single event: a Chinese anti-satellite test in 2007, 530 miles above the surface. What has been described as "unacceptable" by the NASA chief is that the risk of collision between the ISS and the pieces of the destroyed satellite has increased by 44 per cent over a period of 10 days as 24 of the pieces "are going above the apogee of the ISS".

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Media captionIs India's prime minister right when he calls his country a space superpower? There are no direct repercussions at the moment, but India's image of a peaceful nation trying to make scientific progress in space has taken a hit.

Jim Bridenstine, the Administrator of NASA, described the missile test as a "terrible, bad thing" because of the unsafe situation it has created.

He also dismissed the notion that India's arrival on the space weapons scene will spark a new arms race - because one is already underway and India is simply striving to keep up. When those objects collide with one another, they create even more - and potentially still unsafe - debris.

The world's first antisatellite missile test did not originate in China or India, however, but in the United States, back in 1958.

"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.

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