Swiss start-up embarks on space cleaning mission


"400 pieces of orbital debris from the test have been identified, including debris that was traveling above the International Space Station which is a awful, bad thing", Reuters quoted NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine as saying Monday. "The goal was to avoid the threat of debris to any global space assets", Reddy said.

On various responses by the USA on India's anti-satellite launch, including the one by NASA administrator James Bridenstine terming it a "terrible thing", Saran said New Delhi treats the State Department statement as official and drew attention to report that NASA has conveyed that it is continuing with ongoing cooperation with India on space including on human space flight mission.

India's recent test of anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile has been termed as "a bad, awful thing" by NASA.

India disagrees with NASA stating that it carried out the test in low Earth orbit, 186-miles above the surface of the Earth, so it didn't leave debris that might collide with the ISS or satellites.

On March 27, India shot down one of its satellites in space with an ASAT missile, which made it only the fourth country after the USA, the USSR and China to have used such a weapon.

The DRDO chief said that a "mission of such nature" could not have been kept a secret technically, given the numerous satellites launched by different countries orbiting in space. "If a space command needs to be formulated, it is the decision of the government".

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Speaking further on the main objective of the test, Reddy said, "Space has gained importance in the military domain".

For the first test mission, slated for 2024, the company wants to dismantle SwissCube, a nanosatellite developed by students from EPFL and other Swiss universities and launched on 23 September 2009.

Nearly all the technologies used for the ASAT test were indigenously developed with some 50 industries contributing components for the 13 metre missiles weighing 19 tonnes. The mission was conceived in 2014 and development started in 2016. On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India has achieved a "historic feat" by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile, making the country a "space power".

Speaking about the reports of a failed test in February this year before the actual test, Reddy said, "DRDO has been regularly conducting some tests with electronic targets".

Addressing the mediapersons, Reddy also said, "For a similar application we don't need another test". "The ASAT missile will give new strength to India's space programme".

Recently, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chief Jim Bridenstine called India's ASAT test a "terrible thing".