Mission Shakti: Pentagon says India debris expected to burn up in atmosphere

Robotic Astrobees to head to ISS to lend a hand

"The objective was to avoid the threat of debris to any global space assets", Reddy said. "The anti-satellite weapons test by India last week has resulted in about 400 pieces of orbital debris", he said on April 1, adding "that is a awful, bad thing to create an event that sends debris and an apogee that goes above the International Space Station".

Reddy also said that there was no need for any more tests in this orbit now. "All necessary permissions were taken", Reddy added. "We have conducted the test on 12th February against an electronic target which has given a lot of information for us with many applications".

"400 pieces of orbital debris from the test have been identified, including debris that was traveling above the International Space Station which is a bad, awful thing", Reuters quoted NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine as saying Monday. National Aeronautics and Space Administration administrator Jim Bridenstine had described the test as a "terrible, terrible" thing.

He said that simulations showed that there was a possibility of some debris escaping to higher levels, but we can clearly say the possibility of hitting ISS is not there.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (local time), Palladino said, "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".

Reddy also responded to criticism by former home minister P Chidambaram, who had faulted the government for making India's ASAT capability public.

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Developed by engineers at EPFL, the satellites are created to clean up space debris.

Explaining the strategic importance of the test, Reddy said India had demonstrated that it possessed the capability to intercept and kill a satellite - which acted as a deterrent vis a vis other countries.

However, Pentagon has earlier strongly denied the reports that the United States spied on India's anti-satellite or ASAT missile test by sending a reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to monitor the development. Clearance to conduct the test was received in 2016 when the programme to develop the interceptor missile began in earnest, Reddy said.

Some 150 scientists, including at least 40 women scientists, worked round-the-clock, and especially in the last six months on this project.

The test of the anti-satellite weapon makes India the fourth country to have carried out such a test. "The ASAT missile will give new strength to India's space programme".

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