Debris from India's anti-satellite missile test endangers ISS

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Is India's prime minister right when he calls his country a space superpower

US Strategic Command's Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC) had said earlier that 250 pieces of debris associated with an Indian ASAT launch last Wednesday were being actively tracked.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been accused of using activities in space as political stunts.

The US has downplayed NASA's criticism of India over space debris created by the country's anti-satellite missile test, saying two nations would continue to pursue shared interests in space that includes collaboration on safety and security in space. "What we are tracking right now, objects big enough to track - we're talking about 10 centimetres or bigger - about 60 pieces have been tracked", Bridenstine said. Zombie satellites, spent rocket stages, paint flecks, nuts and bolts circle the Earth in what are already becoming crowded orbits and travel at great velocity, with the potential to do great damage.

Meanwhile NASA has been heavily critical of the weapons test and claims it has created 400 pieces of orbital debris.

Pakistan has expressed "grave concern" over India's test last week of an anti-satellite weapon and its potential impact on existing space installations such as the International Space Station (ISS), according to a foreign ministry statement. Fortunately, such an event did not occur, and the debris is beginning to fall back into Earth's atmosphere, where it will burn up on re-entry.

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"India has no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space", said the statement.

In the past, China, Russia, and the U.S. have all done the same, and each time, there were serious conversations about the dangers of debris and what some consider unnecessary displays of military might.

"Pakistan has noted with deep concern the assessment of relevant organisations and global experts on the threats resulting from space debris generated by the recently conducted Anti-Satellite weapon (ASAT) test by India", a statement by the Foreign Office said.

The US military tracks objects in space to predict the collision risk for the ISS and for satellites. "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight", he said. The satellite itself was in low orbit, but the blast pushed many pieces of debris into and above the orbit of the ISS.

At the moment, NASA is monitoring about 23,000 pieces of junk, measuring about 10 centimeters or bigger.

He said the NASA is "learning more and more every hour" that goes by about this orbital debris field that has been created from the anti-satellite test. When those objects collide with one another, they create even more - and potentially still unsafe - debris.

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