U.S. tracking space debris from India’s ASAT test

  1. In the backdrop of the success of Mission Shakti, an ASAT missile testing, the USA has said that India and USA would continue to pursue shared interests in space and scientific and technical cooperation. In 2016, USA had designated India uniquely as Major Defense Partner’.
  2. The USA has also raised concerns over space debris and reported to have been tracking space debris from Mission Shakti. However, India has assured that that there will be no space debris left and the debris would die down in 45 days. This is because the test was conducted in the lower atmosphere. A low-orbit satellite was shot down using anti-satellite (ASAT) missile.
  3. Space debris are artificial material that is orbiting Earth but is no longer functional. According to the Report of Second U.N. Conference on Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space 1982, space debris consists of dead satellites, spent rocket motors, nuts and bolts etc. Examples: China’s Tiangong-1, Fengyun-1C weather satellite of China.
  4. Mission Shakti has been particularly significant as the acquisition and demonstration of ASAT technology has made India a member of an elite group of countries that claim to have anti-satellite weapons. Only the United States, Russia and China have had demonstrated this capability.