India May Have Thwarted Space Flight for Decades!

It turns out, when it comes to missiles and destroying satellites in Earth’s orbit, there is no such thing as a simple test.

Last week, India launched a rocket in order to destroy a previously placed satellite – Microsat R – as some kind of test of the Indian space program.

The altitude at which the rocket hit the satellite was at 300km, which constitutes a low orbit.

However, the resulting debris from the satellite’s destruction could have dire consequences, according to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine:

“That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,”

That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight.

“All of those are placed at risk when these kinds of events happen — and when one country does it, then other countries feel like they have to do it as well.”

You can watch the full address of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine here.

So far, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi only praised the destructive test as “shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme.

Creating space junk does not only endanger the International Space Station, as you can see here.

“We have identified 400 pieces of orbital debris from that one event. What we are tracking right now, objects big enough to track, we’re talking about 10 centimeters or bigger, about 60 pieces have been tracked. Of those 60, we know that 24 of them are going above the apogee of the International Space Station.”

It can also create something known as the Kessler effect – collisional cascading or ablation cascade.

Put forward by NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978, the Kessler effect describes a potential outcome in which the density of low Earth orbit (LEO) objects is so high that a collision between objects could launch a domino effect of further collisions.

Each new collision would increase the likelihood of additional collisions.

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In the end, the LEO would become so cluttered with debris that it would render both space flight and satellite operation highly dangerous for generations to come.

Although space junk is a known problem, for which there have been proposed many solutions, deliberate creation of additional space junk just for the purpose of testing is a practice that cannot be sustained.

In the worst case scenario, scenes like this will occur in real life.

Do you think the US should exert pressure on India and other countries to not conduct such tests in the future?

Hit reply and tell me your opinion.


—Ashleigh Dunn

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