India has slammed China’s anti-Satellite (ASAT) programme, terming it a threat to global space assets. In 2007, Beijing successfully tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) vehicle, destroying an inactive weather satellite.
Asked if China’s ASAT programme is a threat to Indian satellites, Secretary in the Department of Space, K Radhakrishnan said: “… the threat is not only for us, but for the entire world because it (China’s 2007 test) has created space debris”.
Noting that the Chinese test has resulted in 3000 particles (space debris), Radhakrishnan, also Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Space Commission, said: “So we have to be careful about their (space debris from the Chinese test) possible collision with our operational satellites”.
He said a group of ISRO scientists is coordinating with the international group on space debris, which observes and conducts analysis and continuously looks at managing Indian satellites – in terms of manoeuvres and navigation – for avoiding such possible collisions.
“Internationally, under the UN body, countries are encouraged not to undertake such activities (killing satellites in space and creating space debris”, Radhakrishnan said. Radhakrishnan said space debris are also created when satellites are integrated on their own. “Such objects (debris) will be there in orbit”.
One can only try to avoid debris hitting satellites, he said, adding there is a talk of “scavenging” of debris from orbit. But this concept needs to evolve and “one has to see how one is going to do that,” he added.