Jim Bridenstine, the head of NASA on Monday, while addressing employees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), branded India’s destruction of one of its satellites a “terrible thing” that had created 400 pieces of orbital debris and led to new dangers for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Five days ago India shot down a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test, Mission Shakti, to prove it was among the world’s advanced space powers.
Bridenstine said, “what we are tracking right now, objects big enough to track — we’re talking about 10 centimeters (six inches) or bigger — about 60 pieces have been tracked.”
The NASA Chief further said that the kind of activity conducted by India’s ISRO and DRDO last week is “not not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see happen.”
Bridenstine condemned the Indian anti-satellite test in the NASA town hall meeting in Washington DC, calling it a “terrible thing”.
“That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,” he continued, adding, “that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight. It’s unacceptable and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is.”
The US military currently tracks over 23,000 pieces of space debris which is 10 centimetre or higher in size, to make sure they aren’t on a collision course with any of the satellites or International Space Station.
Each piece of space debris can travel over 30,000 kmph, capable of puncturing through any rocket, spaceship or astronaut suit in space.