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U.S. tracking debris from ASAT test

250 remnants from Mission Shakti being monitored, says Pentagon spokesman

The United States has reacted to Prime Minister Modi’s statement that India had successfully tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile in what he termed Mission Shakti.

“The State Department saw PM Modi’s statement that announced India’s anti-satellite test. As part of our strong strategic partnership with India, we will continue to pursue shared interests in space and scientific and technical cooperation, including collaboration on safety and security in space,” a State Department spokesperson said via email to The Hindu , in response to questions on the U.S. position on the ASAT test.

The U.S. is one of the now four (including India) countries that has demonstrated an ability to strike down an orbiting satellite. U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing for the U.S. to have a ‘Space Force’ and has directed the administration to enhance America’s space-war fighting capabilities. This has been driven in part by the long-standing American concern that China and Russia were developing their ASAT systems, putting American GPS-based technology at risk.

The U.S. reaction also raised the issue of space debris. “The issue of space debris is an important concern for the U.S. government. We took note of Indian government statements that the test was designed to address space debris issues,” the spokesperson said.

The U.S. is tracking over 250 pieces of debris from Mission Shakti. It will provide “close-approach notifications as required until the debris enters the Earth’s atmosphere,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said, according to Reuters .

India has said that there will be no space debris.

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