India chose a much lower orbit of less than 300 km during Mission Shakti for “capability demonstration” and to avoid threat of debris to global space assets, DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy said on April 6. His remark comes days after NASA raised concerns about the spread of debris from the Anti-Satellite Test (A-SAT) test India conducted on March 27.
Reddy, at a briefing held at the DRDO Bhawan here, said the interceptor had the capability to intercept satellites in orbit of 1,000 km. “An orbit of around 300 km was chosen for the test for capability demonstration, and the purpose was to avoid threat of debris to any global space assets,” Reddy said.
“The debris created, following the intercept, will decay in a matter of weeks,” he added.
On Tuesday, the NASA had termed a “terrible thing” India’s shooting down of one its satellites, saying the hit-to-kill mission created about 400 pieces of orbital debris. India’s Ministry of External Affairs too has said the test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the A-SAT test’s success as “an unprecedented achievement” that makes India “a space power.”