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NASA Says It Will Continue To Cooperate With ISRO 'as Guided To By The White House' After A-SAT Debris Issue

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Published:

Days after NASA chief James Bridenstine criticised India and termed its anti-satellite weapon test (ASAT), Mission Shakti, a "terrible thing" for creating about 400 pieces of orbital debris, he wrote a letter saying that the cooperation of NASA with ISRO remains intact.

In a letter to ISRO Chairman K Sivan, NASA Administrator Bridenstine said that ‘based on the guidance received from the White House’, he looks forward continuing to work with ISRO on a host of issues including human space flights.

"As part of our partnership with you, we will continue to work on issues using the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group, Planetary Science Working Group, US India Earth Science Working Group, and the Heliophysics Working Group," Bridenstine said.

He accepted that he wrote a letter to ISRO about the suspension of cooperation on human space flight.

"Recently, we sent you a letter indicating a suspension of activities under the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group. But it appears that after the White House weighing in, the cooperation remains intact."

The NASA chief in a town hall meeting criticised India's anti-satellite missile (ASAT) test that inducted India in the list of elite nations namely Russia, China and the United States, to have tested this weapon. He claimed that Mission Shakti generated debris in the space and it can be a potential threat to the International Space Station.

"The anti-satellite weapons test by India last week has resulted in about 400 pieces of orbital debris," he said on April 1, adding "that is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris and an apogee that goes above the International Space Station".

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However, Bridenstine said in his letter that: "As we made clear, space debris is a serious issue for the United States. As it is a growing threat, it is the responsibility of all nations who operate in space. We will continue to monitor the remaining debris from your test as it relates to the safety of our human spaceflight activities especially at the International Space Station," he wrote in the letter.

(With PTI inputs)