Debris from Indian anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test conducted on 27 March would burn up in the atmosphere, Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday, despite NASA administrator warning of the left-over debris.
“400 pieces of orbital debris from the test have been identified, including debris that was traveling above the International Space Station which is a terrible, terrible thing,” Reuters quoted NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine as saying Monday.
India developed a ballistic missile interceptor under the name of "Mission Shakti" and destroyed one of its own satellites at a height of 300 km (186 miles). Anti-satellite weapons are created to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. India is the fourth nation to have achieved the feat after US, Russia and China.
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.
Since India conducted the test in Low Earth orbit, it avoided a similar scenario, Shanahan added.
"We will continue to closely monitor the remaining debris from India's ASAT test to ensure the safety of assets on-orbit and human spaceflight activities such as the International Space Station," said Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesman.