NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that some of the larger debris from the Indian ground-launched missile and the Microsat-R satellite had been thrown into orbits that could pose a danger to the International Space Station (ISS).
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last month that the country had achieved a “historic feat” by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile.
“That is a terrible, terrible thing, to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,” Bridenstine declared.
“And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see happen. We are charged with commercializing low Earth orbit. We are charged with enabling more activities in space than we’ve ever seen before, for the purpose of benefiting the human condition… all of those are placed at risk when these kinds of events happen.
And if one country does this, then other countries feel they have to do it, too. It’s unacceptable, and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is.”
The risk of collision with the ISS was increased by 44 per cent over a period of 10 days, Bridenstine warned staff after identifying 400 different pieces of orbital debris from the event.