Swiss start-up embarks on space cleaning mission

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"The mission had been designed in a away that debris decays very fast and that minimal debris goes up", G. Satheesh Reddy, head of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation told reporters.

The government on Wednesday declined to comment on the USA space agency NASA evaluation that India's anti-satellite weapon test a week ago contributed To the creation of 400 pieces of space debris which may pose a threat to the International Space Station.

The Pentagon on Thursday (April 4) stated that it stood by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's assessment last week that debris from an Indian anti-satellite weapons test would eventually burn up in the atmosphere, despite a subsequent, more negative assessment by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

On Tuesday, the NASA had termed a "terrible thing" India's shooting down of one its satellites, saying the hit-to-kill mission created about 400 pieces of orbital debris.

On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India had shot down a live satellite in space and had become the fourth country to do so.

"As part of our strategic partnership, the United States will continue close engagements with India on shared interests in space", he added, listing areas that included "safety and security" as well as human space exploration.

When asked about the need for a space command and serial production of the A-Sat, he said, "It is for the government to take a decision".

"Space has gained importance in the military domain. All necessary permissions were taken", he said.

For the first test mission, slated for 2024, the company wants to dismantle SwissCube, a nanosatellite developed by students from EPFL and other Swiss universities and launched on 23 September 2009. He further said that the situation will worsen when more and more countries start this anti satellite weapon testing and the debris will be remaining in space for a long time. The US expressed concerns about the spread of debris from the test. About 2,000 components were sourced from 50 private industries. "The ASAT missile will give new strength to India's space programme. NASA has conveyed to us that they are continuing with us in space cooperation", the Deputy NSA said.

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