"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.
On March 27, India shot down one of its satellites in space with an ASAT missile, which made it only the fourth country after the United States, the USSR and China to have used such a weapon. 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. India is now the fourth country to have tested ASATs, the others being the United States, the Soviet Union, and China. "It was intentionally done at 280 km altitude so that debris decay fast", Dr. Reddy said, adding that the interception was created to hit at an angle so that minimal debris go up and also have minimal velocity.
Bridenstine's assessment contrasted sharply with the one offered by Acting U.S. Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan on March 28, when he played down the threat the debris might pose to satellites in space and said it was his understanding the debris would eventually burn up in the atmosphere.
After concerns over orbital debris in the aftermath of the Mission Shakti anti-satellite (A-SAT) strike, DRDO chief G Satheesh Reddy on Saturday said that all debris should decay within 45 days from the day of the launch. "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see have happen", he had said.
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"Some debris going up could be a possibility, as per our simulation also". Reddy said the Indian test was created to ensure minimum debris. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the A-Sat test's success as "an unprecedented achievement" that makes India "a space power". This, despite the fact that NASA's administrator warned of the dangers that the debris posed. He further said that the situation will worsen when more and more countries start this anti satellite weapon testing and the debris will be remaining in space for a long time. Of a team of 150 scientists involved in the project, 30-40 were women who were involved in radar software development, telemetry and ground computer systems, he added.
Decisions on the weaponisation of space would be taken by the government, Reddy said.
"Mission of this nature after a test is conducted can't be kept secret".