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U.S. warns of space debris after India destroyed a Low Earth Orbit satellite

The Acting Defence Secretary of United States (U.S.) – Patrick Shanahan has warned that the testing of Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapons can create chaos, after India became a ‘Space Super Power’ on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, by destroying a pre-determined Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite.

The U.S. has said that it is still studying the test carried out by the scientists of Defence Research and development Organisation (DRDO), India, under the aegis of ‘Mission Shakti’ program. It is monitoring over 250 pieces of debris from the Indian test.  For the records, India is the 4th country to carry out an ASAT test. The other 3 countries are U.S., China and Russia. 

Speaking on India’s ASAT test, Shanahan said, “We all live in space, let’s not make it a mess. Space should be a place where we can conduct business. Space is a place where people should have the freedom to operate.”

The U.S. believes that debris from such tests can harm civilian and military satellite operations and may also collide with other objects in space.

However, it is to be noted that India had carried out its test in the lower atmosphere, at an altitude of 300 km, so that there is no debris. India has also ensured that whatever was left behind would decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks.

NASA’s Objection

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has also issued warning with regards to debris. A NASA official has warned that intentional destroying of a satellite and creation of space debris is wrong and countries indulging into it should face consequences.

NASA Administrator – James Bridenstine said, “The entire world needs to step up and say, if you’re going to do this, you’re going to pay a consequence. If we wreck space, we’re not getting it back.”

U.S. detected the test as it happened

The Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command – Lt. Gen. David Thompson has said that U.S. military’s early warning system detected the test as soon as it happened. The warning systems immediately stared sharing notifications with the satellite operators.

The rocket launch was detected by the 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, the National Space Defence Centre at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, and the 18th Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The U.S. has also claimed that no other country, military or civil agency could have detected this development.

EC to probe PM Modi’s national address

The Election Commission of India has set-up a panel to examine the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation regarding the ASAT test. The panel will be headed by Deputy Election Commissioner (DEC), Model Code of Conduct Division – Dr. Sandeep Saxena.

A lot of political parties have raised objections to Prime Minister’s televised speech, accusing him of reaping political benefits.

The General Secretary of CPM – Sitaram Yechury has written to the Election Commission asking why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was allowed to paint the achievements of Indian scientists in political colors.

In his complaint, he said, “Such a mission should normally be announced to the nation and to the world by the relevant scientific authorities like the DRDO. Instead, the Indian Prime Minister has taken the route of an address to the nation in making this announcement.”

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