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Home > News > PTI

'Chinese anti-satellite test no big deal'

March 27, 2007 17:42 IST

The Chinese anti-satellite missile test has added 600 'objects' (debris) in space and Beijing needs to be restrained from carrying out similar attempts in future by international space powers, Indian space officials have said.

"They (China) have added 600 objects (debris) by just one shot, which according to international guidelines, they are not supposed to have done," G Madhavan Nair, secretary in the Department of Space, said.

"If every country tries to attempt and destroy another satellite and (space-based) resources, it is almost like a war-like situation," Nair, also chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, told PTI in Bangalore.

China launched a missile in January to kill a satellite. Reports said Beijing shot down an ageing weather satellite with a ground-based missile, about 860 km above Earth. Nair said the Chinese test had contributed significantly to space debris.

"Today in the 500-1000 km orbit, nearly 9,000 objects are there flying in their own trajectory. So the probability of hitting any satellite is there," he said.

Nair said countries are supposed to keep the space free of debris, though generation of some debris in the natural course cannot be avoided. He indicated that carrying out a test of this scale is no big deal.

"Any rocket which reaches an altitude of 500-600 km can do this job. You know that our (Indian) rockets are much more powerful than that," he said.

Nair said that while space debris does not pose a very serious problem to satellites in orbit at present, things could change if more objects are added.

"The probability of hit (debris hitting satellites) is one in six, similar to the probability of a road accident," he said.

Asked if the Indian satellites had the ability to spy any location in the world, he said, "I will not say spy. It's observing locations. We are a peace-loving country and so, we don't get into such (spy) activities."

"Any satellite, which has earth observation capability, can look at anything. You are getting (satellite) image of a railway station or bus stand or something. As a passenger, your interest is different. As a security man, his interest is different. So, you view from a different angle," he added.

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