Washington: The head of NASA on Monday called India’s destruction of one of its satellites a “terrible thing” that had created 400 pieces of debris and led to new dangers for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.Jim Bridenstine was addressing employees of NASA after India shot down a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test.
Not all of the pieces were big enough to track, Bridenstine explained. “What we are tracking right now, objects big enough to track – we’re talking about 10 centimeters or bigger – about 60 pieces have been tracked.”But 24 of the pieces “are going above the apogee of the International Space Station,” said Bridenstine.
ISRO and DRDO have kept silence over the issue, but an official of the agency, while asking not to be named, said 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 said.
“ 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).