India has 217 space objects orbiting earth; working towards reducing space debris: Report

India had 103 spacecraft, including active and defunct satellites, and 114 space debris, including spent rocket bodies orbiting Earth.

India had 103 spacecraft, including active and defunct satellites, and 114 space debris, including spent rocket bodies orbiting Earth.

India has 103 active or defunct spacecraft and 114 objects categorized as “space junk” in orbit and it has begun a study to reduce such fragments from space. “Currently, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has undertaken research activities to study the feasibility and technologies needed to conduct active debris removal (ADR),” Foreign Minister in PMO Jitendra Singh told parliament.

According to Orbital Debris Quarterly News released in March by NASA, India had 103 spacecraft, including active and defunct satellites, and 114 space debris objects, including spent rocket bodies orbiting Earth. Thus, the country has a total of 217 space objects in orbit.

Mr Singh said Active Debris Removal (ADR) was one of the active methods proposed by the Space Debris Research Community to contain the growth of space debris objects. “ADR is a very complex technology and involves policy and legal issues. Technology demonstration studies have been picked up by many countries, including India. Development studies to finalize necessary technologies are underway to demonstrate ADR,” he said.

A top ISRO official told a technology conclave last year that the space agency was working on futuristic technologies such as self-eating rockets and disappearing satellites as part of measures to reduce space debris.

According to the Orbital Debris Quarterly News, the US has 4,144 spacecraft (active and defunct) and 5,126 objects categorized as space debris in Earth’s orbit.

China has 517 spacecraft, active and defunct, and 3,854 objects, including spent rocket bodies, orbiting the Earth.

Mr Singh said ISRO has also established the Space Situational Awareness and Management Directorate at its headquarters to deal with space debris issues.

A dedicated Space Situational Awareness Control Center has been set up in Bengaluru to coordinate all space scrap related activities within ISRO and to protect Indian space operational assets from collision threats, he said.

The minister added that ISRO also planned to have its own observation facilities to track and catalog the space objects.

SOURCE – www.thehindu.com

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