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India to launch PSLV satellite today, but ASAT space debris raises concerns

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 01 April 2019, 12:15 AM
ISRO Missile Launch (File Photo)
ISRO Missile Launch (File Photo)

India is scheduled to launch an electronic intelligence satellite EMISAT for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) along with 28 third party satellites and also demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of PSLV rocket, the ISRO said last week.

However, the space debris created by the anti-satellite (ASAT) test carried out by the DRDO is believed to be posing a threat for the satellite launch on April 1. When the PSLV is launched from Sriharikota, it will have to traverse through that debris, thereby creating a risk of collision.

Last week, India successfully fired a rocket that brought down one of its own satellites to test its A-SAT capabilities. The ‘Mission Shakti’ generated 250-270 objects of debris in the space, some 300 km above the Earth.

The whole operation was completed in three minutes after the killer missile was launched from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha by scientists of DRDO.

Experts believe that the debris created in the space by the ASAT test would certainly hinder the future launches at least for the next several weeks.

“These fragments keep floating around because as soon as you get out of atmosphere, nothing comes back; it always remains there and keeps on revolving because it is at the same speed of the satellite. So when they keep revolving they have a tendency to come in the way of other objects that are going to be propelled. That is why internationally there is a programme today to remove debris as much as possible and India is a signatory to that,” VK Saraswat, former DRDO head and member of the government think tank NITI Aayog, was quoted by NDTV as saying.

Following the ‘Mission Shakti’, the United States had said it is tracking the space debris generated due to ASAT missile test in lower earth orbit, but the International Space Station or ISS is not at risk.

On April 1, a new variant of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket will first put the 436 kg Emisat into a 749 km orbit. After that, the rocket will be brought down to put into orbit the 28 satellites at an altitude of 504 km.

First Published: Sunday, March 31, 2019 09:06 AM
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