India is worried regarding the “threats” it faces in space, the Pentagon has said that defending New Delhi for testing an anti-satellite missile or A-SAT capabilities. On March 27, India has achieved a historic move by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile, makes the nation a space power.
The A-SAT test made India the fourth country in the world to have A-SAT capabilities after the United States, Russia, and China.
On Thursday, the US Strategic Command Commander General John E Hyten told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee that “the first lesson from the Indian ASAT is just the simple question of why did they do that. And the answer should be, I think to all the committee looking at it, is that they did that because they are concerned about threats to their nation from space.”
General Hyen further told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “And therefore, they feel they have to have a capability to defend themselves in space,” while replying to a query from Senators over the need for India to perform the A-SAT missile test.
After the test, NASA has termed it as a “terrible thing”, claims it created over 400 pieces of orbital debris and also claimed that it endangered the International Space Station (ISS) as well.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had also claimed that around 60 pieces of debris were tracked and out of which 24 are going above the apogee of the ISS.
General Hyten investigated for the development of some kind of international norms of behavior in the space.
The Top Commander of Pentagon said, “And where those norms of behavior should begin, in my opinion, is with debris, because as the combatant commander responsible for space today, I don’t want more debris.”
Raising the issue, Senator Tim Kaine claims that India has announced that it has successfully conducted a test of A-SAT missile last month.
He claims, “So, they had something in low earth orbit. They used an anti-satellite weapon to down it, and it resulted in – the estimate is right now 400 pieces of debris, 24 which are large enough to potentially pose a threat to the International Space Station.”
“There have been other instances like this. There was a Chinese – a similar effort in 2007 that led to the cataloged 100,000 pieces of debris, many of which are still observing in debris fields that pose danger to other assets in space,” added Senator Kaine.
He further said that “there was a collision in ’09 between a working US satellite and a sort of defunct Soviet-era satellite that kind of a fender bender that produced debris. Then this debris causes challenges.”
Senator Kaine asked, “If we think that space is going to be more of a traffic jam, more satellites for all kinds of purposes up there, what should we be thinking about as a Senate in this committee or in Foreign Relations about sort of the rules?”
“What should the rules environment be, and what should we be doing to try to promote rules? India is an ally. We’re not talking about an adversary doing something. We’re talking about them testing some capacity, but then that creates challenges for all kinds of uses of space. How should we be solving problems like that?” asked Senator Kaine.