India's shooting down one of its own satellites has been described as a 'terrible thing' by NASA , and the consequent creating of about 400 pieces of orbital debris. This has endangered the International Space Station (ISS).
The NASA chief, Dr. Jim Bridenstine said of these about 60 pieces had been tracked so far of which 24 were going above the apogee of the ISS. 'This is a terrible thing to create an event that sends debris and an apogee that goes above the international space station. That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see happen,' he said.
'India's ASAT test last week has resulted in about 400 pieces of orbital debris,' he pointed out. Dr. Bridenstine said not all of the pieces were big enough to track and the NASA is right now tracking objects which are 10 centimetres or bigger.
'Some 60 pieces of orbital debris have been tracked so far, 24 of which pose risk to the ISS'. He was addressing National Aeronautics and Space Administration staff soon after Mr. Narendra Modi announced India shot down a satellite in space with a missile. He is the first top Trump official to come out in public against India’s test.
'We are charged with commercialising of low earth orbit. We are charged with enabling more activities in space than we’ve ever seen before for the purpose of benefiting the human condition, whether it’s pharmaceuticals or printing human organs in 3D to save lives here on earth or manufacturing capabilities in space that you’re not able to do in a gravity well,' he continued.
'All of those are placed at risk when these kinds of events happen,' Dr. Bridenstine pointed out and he feared the ASAT test could risk proliferation by other countries. 'When one country does it, other countries feel like emulating it. This is unacceptable. The NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is.'
He said the NASA is 'learning more and more every hour' that goes by about this orbital debris field that has been created from the test. The risk from small debris from the ASAT test to the ISS went up 44 per cent over 10 days. 'So, the good thing is that it’s low enough in earth orbit that over time this will all dissipate,' he said.
A lot of debris from the 2007 anti-satellite test by China is still in the space and ' we’re still dealing with it. We are still, we as a nation are responsible for doing space situational awareness and space traffic management, conjunction analysis for the entire world,' Dr. Bridenstine added.
The US was doing it for free with its own taxpayers’ money from an orbital debris field that was created by another country.
'Why do we do that,' he asked rhetorically. 'Because it’s the right thing to do because we want to preserve the space environment,' the altruist said.
According to him the US was currently tracking about 23,000 pieces of orbital debris that are 10 centimetres or bigger and at the end of the 'we need to be clear with everybody in the world, we’re the only agency in the federal government that has human lives at stake here.'
'So, it is not acceptable to allow people to create orbital debris fields that put our people at risk'.