MOSCOW – The chances of the International Space Station colliding with space junk has increased by 5 percent following India’s destruction of one of its satellites, Roscosmos said on Wednesday.
Sergei Krikalev, the executive director of Roscosmos said various statistics suggested that the likelihood that the outer layer of the ISS could get perforated by space debris had increased, the Interfax news agency said.
The former cosmonaut linked this increase to a missile test that took place last Monday by India in which a missile was used to destroy a satellite that was at a height of some 300 kilometers (186.5 miles).
With this test, the south Asian state became the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to carry out these types of tests.
Boris Shustov, the vice-president of the International Astronomical Union, said that the situation could lead to the Kessler Effect, whereby the density of space debris could increase to such an extent that collisions between waste increase the likelihood of subsequent collisions.
One consequence of this increase in junk and collisions could make satellite traffic and voyages difficult.
“It is possible we may have, to an extent, surpassed the threshold by which we overpopulate the Earth-centered orbit to the point that it takes on a life of its own and it becomes a shield of sorts that would not allow future space investigations to be carried out,” Shustov warned.
According to the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service there are 50,000 objects orbiting Earth of which 1,000 are fragments from spacecrafts.
The total mass of space junk around our planet is of some 7,200 tons.