After speculations about the US spying on India’s anti-satellite test carried on earlier this week, Pentagon said that they were tracking the 250-270 objects of debris created by the India’s ASAT “Mission Shakti”, and that “the International Space Station is not at risk at this point of time”.
India carried out its first space defence test on March 27, 2019 as it test-fired the ingeniously developed anti-satellite missile and successfully shot down a live satellite in the Lower Earth Orbit (LEO) – and became the fourth country to have achieved the rare feat. Soon after the announcement of India’s ASAT success, Aircraft Spots claimed that a US Air Force’s reconnaissance aircraft was sent to Indian Ocean to monitor the mission on Wednesday.
Although Pentagon has denied to have spied on Mission Shakti, it said that the US Strategic Command’s Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC) has been actively tracking the debris created by the anti-satellite mission. Pentagon said that as many as 250-270 objects of debris are being tracked by JFSCC and the “conjunction notifications are being issued to satellite owners/operators in accordance with standard notification process through the Department of Defence public space situational awareness sharing website http://www.space-track.org“.
Since the Indian ASAT has shot the country’s own satellite at an altitude of 300 km, which is 100 km lower than the orbit of ISS, the “International Space Station is not at risk at this point of time”, as per US Air Force Space Command Commander Lt Gen David D Thompson. The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) also confirmed that one of the debris is a large piece and has already been deorbited, while the remaining will be disintegrated and burned up by Earth’s atmosphere within next 45 days.