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ASAT debris will decay in 45 days: DRDO chief

US space agency NASA had criticised India for the March 27 test, saying the debris risked colliding with the International Space Station (ISS).

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Sumit Kumar Singh

Updated: Apr 07, 2019, 05:10 AM IST

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With India's anti-satellite (ASAT) test coming under international scrutiny for generating space debris, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief G Satheesh Reddy defended Mission Shakti saying "debris created following the intercept will decay in a matter of weeks".

"The test was deliberately done at a lower orbit below 300 km to ensure debris decays fast. The US has also done such a test... The threat from debris is not much. The first 10 days are critical and those have passed," he said, adding that simulation studies showed the entire debris would decay in 45 days.

US space agency NASA had criticised India for the March 27 test, saying the debris risked colliding with the International Space Station (ISS). To this, Reddy responded, "The debris won't cause a problem to any existing global space assets. The risk analysis simulation, which is based on an internationally accepted software, showed there was no threat of the debris hitting the ISS."

The DRDO chief added: "We have some amount of mechanism to look at these objects. In fact, our radars picked up the debris immediately after the test."

He further said that with the successful "capability demonstration" test, "Hit-to-kill was achieved against live satellite with an accuracy of less than 10 cm. This is on a par with the best reported worldwide," he said.

Responding to NASA administrator James Bridenstine's observations that the risk of collision with ISS had risen 44 per cent after India's ASAT test, Reddy said when India conducted the test, the space station was over French Guiana.

He also said the mission was successful and India did not need more tests in the low earth orbit now.

Notably, China has done ASAT tests at some 800 km altitude.

"If a space command needs to be formulated, it is the decision of the government," he said.

‘Hit-To-Kill Achieved’

  • Reddy said the ASAT weapon could ‘hit to kill’ with great precision
  • He said it was feasible for India to now target multiple enemy satellites, strike 1,000km out in space  
  • He also said India did not need more tests in the same (low-earth orbit) now 

 

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