Nasa chief slams India for A-SAT test, says safety of International Space Station under threat


Nasa has said that India shooting down a satellite using A-SAT missile was a ‘terrible thing’ adding that the development could pose serious threat to the safety of the International Space Station.

Nasa Chief Jim Bridenstine said, “That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station. And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see have happen.”

Bridenstine added that the risk of debris colliding with the ISS had risen by 44% over 10 days because of India’s A-SAT test. He, however, said that the ISS was still safe adding that ‘If we need to manoeuvre it we will.”

Last week, India became the fourth country to carry out an A-SAT test after the US, China and Russia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held an emergency ‘address to the nation’ to flaunt India’s new capability in the space.

China had faced huge international uproar when it carried out its ASAT test in 2007. When China conducted its A-SAT test in 2007, 800 kms into the space, it had reportedly left behind approximately 2,500 to 3,000 pieces of dangerous debris in LEO. Reconnaissance and weather satellites and manned space missions are vulnerable to space debris. A report by The Diplomat said that this led to the destruction of a Russian satellite in May 2013 reportedly by one such piece of debris.

Addressing Nasa employees, Bridenstine slammed India for carrying out A-SAT, also known as Anti-Satellite, weapons test. A report by the BBC said that the Nasa chief said that his scientists had identified 400 pieces of orbital debris and was tracking 60 pieces larger than 10cm in diameter. Bridenstine added that 24 of those pieces pose a potential risk to the ISS.