India’s recent test of anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile has been termed as “a terrible, terrible thing” by NASA chief Jim Bridenstine, as reported by Engadget.
According to Bridenstine, as per Engadget report, the anti-satellite missile test could “endanger astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).”
It is estimated that the risk to the ISS has increased by 44 per cent over the last ten days.
Though the astronauts are safe and the ISS could be manoeuvred if needed to avoid the debris, Bridenstine stressed that these activities are not sustainable or compatible with human spaceflight.
It is being said that the missile that shot down the satellite reportedly created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris, including 60 larger than 6-inch in size.
NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
India’s successful anti-missile test, a part of Mission Shakti, had been announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address to the nation on March 27. After the US, China, and Russia, India is the fourth country to have anti-satellite missile capability.
An official statement from the Government of India had claimed that the test was at a level low enough to ensure that any debris generated would fall back to Earth within weeks.
Under the Mission Shakti, a joint mission of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the anti-satellite missile test was conducted in which one of India’s existing satellites operating in the lower orbit was shot down with a missile.
The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement stated that the technological test was carried out to verify that India has the capability to safeguard its space assets.