COLORADO SPRINGS — At least a dozen fragments from India’s March 27 anti-satellite test reached altitudes above 1,000 kilometers, meaning some debris will stay in orbit much longer than estimated by India, according to research from Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI).
One fragment was spotted at 2,222 kilometers, nearly eight times higher than where India intercepted one of its own satellites with a ground-launched missile, Dan Oltrogge, a senior research astrodynamicist at AGI.
That fragment, and others orbiting at high altitudes in low Earth orbit, will remain in space much longer than the 45 days recently projected by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, Oltrogge said.
“Many fragments already reentered in the first one to two days, and then there’s quite a cluster that reenters between then and out to as much as one to two months,” Oltrogge said at the 35th Space Symposium here. “But there are some fragments that can go out one to two years.”
Two days after the March 27 test, the U.S. Air Force said it was tracking 250 pieces of debris created when India’s PDV-Mk II missile intercepted at 280 kilometers an satellite dubbed Microsat-R that India launched in January. On April 1, NASA ...