NASA Data on India’s Space Debris

According to the latest data by NASA, the space debris that was created after India conducted anti-satellite tests in March 2019 seems to have disintegrated or decayed. Due to this the country’s contribution to space debris has reduced to the lowest levels in the time period of the last four years.

What are space debris?

In space, there are lots of unwanted objects of various sizes floating around. They are produced from the remains of rockets, out-of-operation satellites, and other kinds of junk.  These junks are collectively known as space debris.

Threat from Space Debris

These pieces that are moving around in space at very high speeds are considered a threat to other space assets and the functional satellites. A collision with even millimetre-sized debris can destroy satellites.

The total amount of space debris

The latest issue of Orbital Debris Quarterly News, which is published by the Orbital Debris Program Office of NASA has stated that there are 25,182 pieces of space debris, in the earth’s lower orbits. Out of these, space debris due to India is only 114 which is the lowest among the major space-faring nations of the world. Also, the nation has 103 defunct and active spacecraft orbiting the Earth.

The largest contribution of Space Debris

The United States, China and the former Soviet Union countries have the highest number of defunct and active satellites. This also causes the said countries to produce the largest number of space debris.

Rise of Indian Space Debris

In 2019, the country’s contribution to space debris increased after the anti-satellite test. The test made India only the fourth country on the planet to have the ability for the destruction of space-based enemy infrastructure. The test conducted had created a large amount of space debris. Around 400 pieces of various sizes were created. Within weeks around 90 per cent of the pieces had disintegrated and NASA had flagged around 50 large remaining pieces.

Fall of Indian Space Debris

Before the anti-satellite test conducted by India, about 115 pieces of space debris were attributed to the country. After the test, the number had risen to 160. Later, many of these pieces got destroyed or decayed over time. Some of the pieces from the tests might still be remaining in space while other pieces even from earlier years have decayed. Thus, the space junk that is attributable to the nation has declined even lower than what was calculated before the anti-satellite test.

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