Nasa has recently said India’s destruction of a satellite a terrible thing amd that could threaten the International Space Station (ISS).
The space agency’s chief, Jim Bridenstine, said that the risk of debris colliding with the ISS had risen by 44% over 10 days due to the test.
However he said: “The international space station is still safe. If we need to manoeuvre it we will.”
India is the fourth country to have carried out such a test.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the test – Mission Shakti – with great fanfare on 27 March, saying it had established India as a “space power”.
In an address to employees, Mr Bridenstine sharply criticised the testing of such anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.
He said that Nasa had identified 400 pieces of orbital debris and was tracking 60 pieces larger than 10cm in diameter. Twenty-four of those pieces pose a potential risk to the ISS, he said.
“That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station. And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see have happen.”
A day after India successfully carried out its ASAT test, acting US defence secretary Patrick Shanahan warned that the event could create a mess in space but said Washington was still studying the impact.
The chief of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation G Satheesh Reddy told Reuters “That’s why we did it at lower altitude, it will vanish in no time.”