India to have 100 satellites in space by 2025

Muriel Hammond
April 7, 2019

The letter comes days after NASA chief Bridenstine in a town hall meeting criticised India's anti-satellite missile (ASAT) test because of the debris is generated in the space and its potential threat to the International Space Station.

"Even though the interceptor has the capability to intercept at the altitudes of more than 1000km, it has been very specifically created to have an interception below 300 km to ensure the safety of space assets and also that debris there decays very fast", he said.

India on Saturday said its anti satellite (ASAT) missile test was done in a low orbit of less than 300 kilometres and at a particular angle to ensure that minimal debris were disbursed above into space to avoid damage to other satellites or the International Space Station (ISS).

The Pentagon said on Thursday that it stood by acting defence secretary Patrick Shanahan's assessment last week that debris from an Indian anti-satellite weapons test would eventually burn up in the atmosphere, despite a subsequent, more negative assessment by NASA.

The US's surveillance and warning network was able to detect India's missile launch in low earth orbit which was aimed at one of its own satellites.

"As we made clear, space debris is a serious issue for the United States".

Speaking further on the main objective of the test, Reddy said, "Space has gained importance in the military domain".

China destroyed a satellite in a polar orbit, altitude in excess of 800 km (500 miles) in 2007, creating the largest orbital debris cloud in history with more than 3,000 objects, according to the Secure World Foundation. Moreover, the International Space Station was not directly above the collision spot but in an orbit above the North Atlantic Ocean, over French Guyana, when India's ASAT test took place over the Bay of Bengal, Reddy said.

Asked if the missile has been in the making for some time now, he said, "Some of the basic technologies were being developed". The idea began around 2014 and development started in 2016 with a go-ahead from the government. "This test won't breach any global law or treaties", said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking about the reports of a failed test in February this year before the actual test, Reddy said, "DRDO has been regularly conducting some tests with electronic targets".

About 150 scientists worked round-the-clock in the past six months and about 2,000 components were sourced from 50 private industries. India has the capacity to hit target up to 1000 km and the test was intentionally held at a lower height.

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