NASA had said on Monday that the Indian satellite which was destroyed had led to twenty-four pieces of debris floating "above the apogee of the International Space Station". "You go back in time, 2007, (the) direct ascent anti-satellite test by the Chinese, a lot of the debris is still in the orbit", he added.
On March 27th, the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) did something few other countries have accomplished: they launched a missile that destroyed one of their own satellites in low Earth orbit, on goal. "Intentionally creating orbital debris fields is not compatible with human space flight". The event has led to 400 pieces of orbital debris and might be risky for astronauts aboard on the International Space Station (ISS).
"The issue of space debris, that is an important concern for the United States, and I would say that we took note of the Indian Government's statements that the test was created to address space debris issues", US State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said.
"We know that 24 of these are going above the apogee of International Space Station".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed its success as "an unprecedented achievement" that makes India "a space power". The conspicuous test, called Mission Shakti, was a demonstration of India's newfound capacity in space, and a warning to rival nations to stay clear of India's satellite fleet.
US Strategic Command's Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC) had said earlier that 250 pieces of debris associated with an Indian ASAT launch last Wednesday were being actively tracked. An official statement from the Government of India said that the test was at a level low enough to ensure that any debris generated would fall back to Earth within weeks. With that, India became only the fourth country to test an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapon - used to attack enemy satellites or intercepting ballistic missiles - after the US, China, and Russian Federation. Precedent, however, suggests it could take much longer than that; in 2008, the USA destroyed a defunct satellite at an altitude of 250 kilometres (150 miles), and it took about 18 months for all the material to fall back to Earth, according to SpaceflightNow.
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The International Space Station serves as a research laboratory and has hosted astronauts from various countries since it was launched into orbit in 1998. "All of those are placed at risk when these kind of events happen".
Bridenstine continued: "We are charged with commercialising low Earth orbit; we are charged with enabling more activities in space than we've ever seen before for the objective 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".
Bridenstine said NASA was preparing a request for additional funding to achieve the 2024 ambitious Moon landing goal.
Then, in 2008, the United States did so again when a highly classified reconnaissance satellite malfunctioned shortly after reaching orbit.
Luckily, all six astronauts on the ISS are safe for now, but that doesn't mean NASA is overreacting to the news.