June 24, 2019

ASAT debris will decay in 45 days: DRDO chief

08 April 2019, 02:52 | Edward Lowe

Astrobee robots were tested in a special lab where researchers created a mockup of the space station’s interior

Astrobee robots were tested in a special lab where researchers created a mockup of the space station’s interior

"An orbit of around 300 kilometres was chosen for the test for capability demonstration, and the goal was to avoid any threat of debris to any global space assets", Reddy said.

He also responded to a question on Congress leader P Chidambaram's criticism of the government on the test, who had said that "only a foolish government" would reveal a defence secret.

"An orbit of around 300 km was chosen for the test for capability demonstration, and the goal was to avoid threat of debris to any global space assets", Reddy said. "We have conducted the test on 12th February against an electronic target which has given a lot of information for us with many applications". "From our simulation, we can very clearly say that the possibilities of (debris) hitting the ISS are not there", Reddy said.

On various responses by the U.S. on India's anti-satellite launch, including the one by NASA administrator James Bridenstine terming it a "terrible thing", Saran said New Delhi treats the State Department statement as official and drew attention to report that NASA has conveyed that it is continuing with ongoing cooperation with India on space including on human space flight mission.

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"That is a awful, bad thing to create an event that sends debris and an apogee that goes above the International Space Station". But the scientists at the DRDO clarified that the threat of debris is not much.

"There was a risk for 10 days and we have crossed that period", he told a press conference. As per the simulation, the entire debris will decay in 45 days.

The US space agency has said that cooperation with ISRO remains intact despite India doing "terrible thing" for creating about 400 pieces of orbital debris.

According to Dr M Annadurai, former director of ISRO satellite centre in Bengaluru, the problem of space debris is a wider issue. The DRDO chief made it clear that there was no move to conduct additional tests of the new A-Sat missile as of now.

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The Indian satellite was destroyed at a relatively low altitude of 300 kilometres -120 kilometres below the ISS and most orbiting satellites. "All necessary permissions were taken", he said. On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India has achieved a "historic feat" by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile, making the country a "space power".

The DRDO chief also said that there is no need of conducting any further test in this orbit (of the target satellite). This type of debris and other similar objects are tracked and a space catalog is maintained by the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg which is actually part of the US Strategic Command.

He said all the critical technology components for the interceptor missile test had been developed indigenously by Indian laboratories or procured from domestic industries with about 90 per cent of the technology fully homegrown. The mission was conceived in 2014 and development started in 2016.

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