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192 Indian space objects currently in orbit

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By IANS Updated: Sep 09, 2017 12:21 am
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Chennai, Sep. 8 (IANS): A total of 192 Indian objects are orbiting in space as of April 1, 2017, catalogued by US Space Surveillance Network, said a retired Indian scientist.

He was citing the August 2017 issue of “Orbital Debris”, a quarterly published by NASA.

“Space objects include functional satellites as well as debris. The term catalogued means the space objects are tracked, updated, and their orbits are determined. The US and Russia maintain the catalogues as they have the technical capabilities,” M.Y.S. Prasad, a former Director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), told IANS.

The Indian navigation satellite IRNSS-1H stuck inside the heat shield of PSLV-XL rocket that was launched on August 31 is the latest in orbit. Officials of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the navigation satellite-heat shield assembly — together weighing around 2.4-tonnes — now tumbling in outer space, is expected to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere in a couple of months.

According to Prasad, the present global capability of tracking the space debris is objects of bigger than 1-metre in GEO (geostationary equatorial orbit), and bigger than 10 cm in LEO (low earth orbit).

Prasad said the limitation is due to the sizing and capability of ground tracking systems. The objects in GEO are tracked by optical telescopes while those in LEO are tracked by radars.

In India, the multi-object tracking radar (MOTR) set up at the SDSC in Sriharikota is one of the biggest radars in the world for tracking space debris, Prasad added.

He said MOTR is designed to track 50cm X50cm debris at a slant range of 1,000 km, and 30cm x 30cm debris at a slant range of 800 km and most of the debris, which cause damage to operational satellites can easily be tracked. According to him there will be an element of uncertainty in predicting the impact region.

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By IANS Updated: Sep 09, 2017 12:21:40 am