Science

SAT debris will decay in 45 days, says DRDO chief

SAT debris will decay in 45 days, says DRDO chief”

The NASA on Tuesday termed as a disgusting thing India's shooting down of one of its satellites which have created about 400 pieces of orbital scraps, endangering ISS.

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.

Deputy national security advisor Pankaj Saran clarified that the NASA is continuing its cooperation with India, including in proposed the manned mission to space.

He said the first 10 days since the test were critical and that have passed, and in 45 days all debris will disintegrate. "Some of the debris have already decayed".

Seeking to allay concerns over the debris from the destroyed satellite posing a threat to the International Space Station (ISS), Reddy said the mission, in which a satellite in Low Earth Orbit was destroyed, was created to minimise debris, which would all "decay in 45 days". He said the team has worked diligently keeping in mind the safety of ISS (International Space Station) too. It also said that the missile that shot down the satellite reportedly created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris, including 60 larger than 6-inch in size.

The DRDO chief said that a low orbit - below 300 km - was deliberately chosen to minimize debris. "All necessary permissions were taken", he said. "Second, for lower orbit satellite, the closing in velocity and relative velocity is very high, more than 10km per second". To this, Reddy responded, "The debris won't cause a problem to any existing global space assets. It was intentionally done at 280km altitude so that debris decay fast", Reddy explained, noting that there was no need for further tests as the system has proved fully functional.

"If a space command needs to be formulated, it is the decision of the government", he said. Clearance to conduct the test was received in 2016 when the programme to develop the interceptor missile began in earnest, Reddy said. "The satellite is tracked by many stations across the world". The DRDO chief said that a "mission of such nature" could not have been kept a secret technically, given the numerous satellites launched by different countries orbiting in space. "Best way of defence is to have deterrence", Reddy said.

Nearly all the technologies used for the ASAT test were indigenously developed with some 50 industries contributing components for the 13 metre missiles weighing 19 tonnes. On March 30, Chidambaram had taken a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for announcing that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability, saying only a "foolish government" would make such a disclosure and "betray" a defence secret.China Reacts to India's Anti-Satellite Missile Test, Says "Hope India Will Safeguard Peace in Outer Space".

Speaking about the reports of a failed test in February this year before the actual test, Reddy said, "DRDO has been regularly conducting some tests with electronic targets". The US had also done a test at a similar height.

Asked if India has informed United States of America or other nations about the test, Saran admitted that India was "in touch" with other space powers. We are against arms raised in space. "Today, also we are in touch with various countries", he said. Statement by the USA state department is the U.S. official position.



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