NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said at a live-streamed town hall meeting that India’s recent anti-satellite missile test was a “terrible thing” because it has created dangerous space debris, despite the USA being one of the major orbital litterers.
India’s test in late March of an anti-satellite weapon created 400 of such floating items, of which 60 are large enough for NASA to track, and 24 are flying above the highest points of the International Space Station’s (ISS) orbit.
India has become the fourth country to successfully test an anti-satellite weapon, after China, Russia and the USA.
However, the latest 60 traceable bits represent a tiny number compared to the total of 21,000 pieces larger than 10 cm that NASA is already watching. A third of those were created in previous anti-satellite weapons tests by Russia, China and the USA itself.
Despite Bridenstine’s condemnation and the Pentagon’s earlier call to “not make a mess” in space, there will not be any real consequences for India. In fact, the USA appears to actually be encouraging India to militarize and weaponize space to help Washington encircle China.
The debris from the Indian test, because it is in low orbit, will burn and fall back onto the Earth in the coming months, if not weeks. But the larger debris from the USA and Chinese actions will persist for many years.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point Space News 2019.