India space debris may have doubled after Mission Shakti

  1. The NASA has criticised India’s Mission Shakti, the anti-satellite missile test. The Mission was carried out by shooting down Microsat-R, an Indian imaging satellite.  
  2. NASA stated that the anti-satellite missile test has endangered the International Space Station (ISS) and led to the creation of nearly 400 pieces of orbital debris.
  3. Orbital/ space debris/space junk are artificial material that is orbiting Earth but is no longer functional. They consists of dead satellites, spent rocket motors, nuts and bolts etc.
  4. Data from, a public access repository maintained by the U.S. defence wing, shows that prior to Mission Shakti, India contributed only 80 pieces of space debris. There were 4,091 pieces of debris by the U.S., 4,025 by Russia and China’s 4,038.
  5. The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. It orbits Earth at an average altitude of approximately 250 miles. It is a highly fortified space object and has shields to buffer against space debris. ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory.