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NASA chief: India anti-missile test a 'terrible thing'



NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Monday that just 60 pieces of debris were large enough to track. Of those, 24 went beyond the apogee of the ISS, the point of the space station's orbit farthest from the Earth.

"It's a terrible, terrible thing to create a event that sends the debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station, "Bridenstine said in a live-streamed NASA town hall meeting.

He added: "It is not acceptable for us to allow people to create fields of orbital debris that put our people at risk."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on March 27 that the country had achieved a "historic feat" by shooting its own low-orbit satellite with ground-to-space missile.

Only three other countries ̵

1; the US, Russia and China have anti-satellite missile capabilities.

India's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the test was conducted in "the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris" and "any garbage that is generated will decay and fall back on Earth within weeks."

But Bridenstine said the Indian test had increased the risk of a small debris hitting the ISS by 44% over the past 10 days diately afterward.

"It's unacceptable, and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact on us is," he added.

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"We are charged more activities in space than we've ever seen before for the purpose of benefiting the human condition, whether it's pharmaceuticals or printing human organs in 3-D to save lives here on Earth, or manufacturing capabilities in space that you are not able to do in gravity well.

"All "

NASA tracking 23,000 pieces of orbital debris 10 centimeters (almost 4 Inches or bigger.

A third of all the rubble cataloged by NASA was created in 2007, when China conducted an anti-satellite test, and in 2009, when the American and Russian communications satellites collided.

However Bridenstine said India's test was conducted enough enough that "over time, this (debris) will all dissipate, "with the ISS and all the astronauts are on board safe.


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