Days after the successful test of an anti-satellite missile (ASAT) under Mission Shakti, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on Saturday sought to ease concerns regarding the orbital debris in the space. Addressing a press conference in Delhi, DRDO chief G Satheesh Reddy said that India chose a much lower orbit of less than 300 km to avoid the threat of debris to global space assets and asserted that all the debris from the mission will decay in 45 days.
“Mission planning involved extensive simulation to ensure no damage due to debris. The high risk is in the first 10 days, that time frame gets over today. All debris should decay within 45 days from March 27,” said Reddy.
Reddy’s statement comes three days after an ISRO scientist claimed that ASAT debris will burn out in six months. Tapan Misra, senior advisor to ISRO chairman, had said on Tuesday that Indian scientists will not do anything to shame India and that the debris from “Mission Shakti” will burn out in the next six months.
VIDEO | WHAT IS MISSION SHAKTI?
At the briefing held at the DRDO Bhawan today, Reddy said the interceptor had the capability to intercept satellites in orbit of 1,000 km. “An orbit of around 300 km was chosen for the test for capability demonstration, and the purpose was to avoid threat of debris to any global space assets,” Reddy said. “The debris created following the intercept will decay in a matter of weeks,” he added.
The ASAT missile launch last month drew criticism from NASA as it condemned the mission for ignoring safety concerns in the space, especially threat to the International Space Station (ISS).
On Tuesday, the NASA had termed India’s shooting down of one its satellites as “terrible thing” and said the hit-to-kill mission created about 400 pieces of orbital debris.
While speaking to reporters, the DRDO chief today said that the safety of space assets was ensured and the whole team behind the operation worked diligently, keeping in mind the safety of ISS.
On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation, announced that India has entered the elite club of nations to possess the capability to hit a target in space. India had shot down a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), a reference to an altitude less than 2,000 km, said the PM. The other countries with such capability are the US, Russia and China.
-With PTI inputs