Last week, India demonstrated its missile prowess by shooting down one of its own low-orbit satellites. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said the satellite’s destruction showed India could be “a space power.”
But now, NASA is calling the demonstration a “terrible, terrible thing” that has put the International Space Station (ISS) and its crew at risk, as debris from the destroyed satellite could cause damage, according to Business Insider. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Monday that they are only able to track debris larger than 4 inches in length, but so far are tracking 60 such pieces from the Indian satellite, 24 of which were above the ISS.
“That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,” Bridenstine said.
The satellite, Bridenstine said, was orbiting about 185 miles above the Earth, yet debris from it has now cleared the ISS, which orbits about 250 miles above the Earth.
“He said the risk of the ISS colliding with debris had increased by 44% in 10 days as a result of the Indian missile,” the Insider reported.
“It’s unacceptable and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is,” Bridenstine said.
As the Insider reported, six crew members are currently living aboard the ISS.
Though this is actual news, it is unlikely to get as much coverage as a story earlier this month involving NASA’s first all-female spacewalk. A man had to be substituted in for a woman at the last minute because there weren’t enough medium-sized spacesuits for all the women and NASA couldn’t just launch a shuttle to deliver the right sized space suit. All the astronauts were already on the International Space Station when the lack of a proper sized suit was discovered, but the media misrepresented the story to such a degree that people thought it should have been an easy fix.
As the Daily Wire’s Paul Bois previously reported:
So, rather than delay the mission, which could jeopardize the functionality of the ISS, NASA made the call to go forward as scheduled with a male astronaut in place. NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz said as much to The New York Times when addressing the alleged controversy. “When you have the option of just switching the people, the mission becomes more important than a cool milestone,” she said.
Now we have a situation where the women and men currently inhabiting the ISS have an actual issue on their hands, instead of some petty sexism claim made up by the media.
The debris from the Indian satellite could actually hurt someone or force them to push back scheduled work.