Mission Shakti: Debris will decay in 45 days, says DRDO chief

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India had shot down a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), a reference to altitude less than 2,000 km, said the PM.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Saturday ended all the concerns which were being raised over orbital debris in the aftermath of the ASAT strike.

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.

He also responded to a question on Congress leader P Chidambaram's criticism of the government on the test, who had said that "only a foolish government" would reveal a defence secret.

On concerns raised by the USA space agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Mr. Saran said, "NASA is continuing its cooperation with India, including in the manned mission to space". "And this has been proven true, even NASA spoke about a 10-day risk period that is over today", he said. As per the simulation, the entire debris will decay in 45 days.

Earlier this month, the chief of NASA had said, India shooting down of one of its own satellites was a "terrible thing" as it created about 400 pieces of orbital debris. "NASA has conveyed to us that they are continuing with us in space cooperation", the Deputy NSA said.

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Another big task in front of the DRDO was to keep this ambitious human spaceflight mission a secret as there were several spy machineries working to track it. "Best way of defence is to have deterrence", Reddy said. The satellite is tracked by many stations across the world and all the necessary permissions were taken to carry out the test, he added.

Amid political debate on when the project was initiated, Reddy said the first discussion on the A-SAT test started in 2014 and the formal detailed presentation was made in 2016.

On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation, announced that India has entered the elite club of nations to possess the capability to hit a target in space.

The DRDO chief also said that there is no need of conducting any further test in this orbit (of the target satellite). "If a space command needs to be formulated, it is the decision of the government".

Nearly all the technologies used for the ASAT test were indigenously developed with some 50 industries contributing components for the 13 metre missiles weighing 19 tonnes.

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