India refuses to comment on NASA allegation

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is seen floating during a spacewalk

Head of NASA Warns India's Anti-Satellite Test Has Put The ISS at Risk

"That is a bad, awful thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station", he said, adding: "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight".

There are estimated to be about 900,000 pieces of debris larger than a marble in orbit around the Earth, according to statistical models cited by the European Space Agency.

Pakistan has expressed deep concern after India shot down a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test last week in its bid to prove it was among the world's advanced space powers.

Debris from China's 2007 anti-satellite missile launch is still floating around in space.

"That is a bad, awful thing to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station", Bridenstine said at a town hall event, referring to the highest point the debris reached in orbit.

Scientists from India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which conducted the March 27 test, and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have confirmed that the low-earth orbit space debris caused by the test would dissipate within eight days.

The International Space Station was launched way back in 1998 and has been seen over 54 crewed missions. "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see have happen", he had stated.

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Pakistan has warned that other countries may now conduct such tests while reiterating that it remains a strong proponent of the non-militarisation of outer space.

At the state department's daily briefing across town from the NASA headquarters where India's ASAT test was subjecting to a tongue-lashing, deputy spokesman Robert Palladino took a more measured approach, choosing to validate the Indian government statements that the test was created to address space debris issues.

The "feat" was announced in a live television address to the Indian nation by Prime Minister Modi just weeks ahead of the general elections in the country.

US Strategic Command's Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC) had said earlier that 250 pieces of debris associated with an Indian ASAT launch last Wednesday were being actively tracked. The debris, they said, will fall to earth, but will burn in the planet's atmosphere.

Even collisions with tiny objects can be catastrophic in space, largely due to the pace at which spacecraft are moving in orbit, a minimum of 7.8km per second.

Laura Grego from the Union of Concerned Scientists said the almost 2,000 satellites now in orbit are put at risk by such tests. "That's a bad, awful thing to create", he said. He added, though, that both the ISS and the astronauts were safe. The state used a missile to destroy one of its own satellites.

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