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SWF Hosts Panel Discussion on India's ASAT Test

10 May 2019, 00:00 UTC
SWF Hosts Panel Discussion on India's ASAT Test
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SWF hosted a panel discussion, "India's ASAT: A Jolt to Space Stability," in DC on May 6, 2019. At this event, Bob Hall, director of operations for AGI’s Commercial Space Operations Center (ComSpOC), gave a fascinating presentation demonstrating their modeling and simulation of debris creation by the Indian ASAT. He said that as of 3 May, 94 fragments had been published by 18th SPCS. However, AGI’s modeling indicates that over 6000 pieces of debris greater than 1 cm were generated, and that there will be quite a lot at the 2-5 cm in size that will be up for 3-4 years.

Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists argued that this test was done not to demonstrate India’s space capabilities but rather to validate its hit-to-kill exoatmospheric missile defense interceptor. He pointed out some unusual language the Indian government used in describing the ASAT test, including emphasizing the 3 minute-long flight to interception, MEA’s FAQ calling the interceptor a MD interceptor, and an announcement by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that phase 1 of India’s indigenous BMD system was complete in April. He talked about Pakistan’s tactical low-yield nukes and how that affects India’s strategic calculus.

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