#MissionShakti increased dangers for astronauts aboard the International Space Station: NASA chief

By NL Team

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Days after India successfully tested an anti-satellite missile, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said that the test had increased the dangers for astronauts aboard the International Space Station by 44 per cent, Indian Express reported. The agency has identified “400 pieces of orbital debris” after India shot down a microsatellite.

Addressing a NASA town hall meeting in Washington DC, Bridenstine said the kind of risk the test caused to human beings in space was unacceptable. He added that while 400 pieces of orbital debris had been identified not all of can be tracked. “We are tracking about 60 pieces right now—these are objects that are 10 cm or bigger. Of these 60, we know that 24 of them are going above the apogee of the International Space Station (ISS). The risk of small debris impact to the ISS has increased by 44 per cent,” he said.

He, however, added that the astronauts and the ISS are safe and “if we need to manoeuvre it (the debris), we will.”

Responding to a question from a member of the NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, the NASA chief said: “At the end of the day, these activities are not sustainable or compatible with human spaceflight.”  He added: “It is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station. When one country does it, other countries feel like they have to do it as well. It’s unacceptable.”

“The good thing is, the debris is low enough in orbit that in time, this will all dissipate. A lot of the debris from China’s anti-satellite test in 2007 is still in orbit and we’re still dealing with it,” he said.