Main Engine Cut Off

Mission Shakti, 9 Months Later

A total of 125 larger debris fragments have been catalogued as well-tracked. Over 70 percent of these larger tracked debris pieces from the test were still on-orbit 45 days after the test (the moment they all should have been gone according to the Indian DRDO!). 

Now, nine months after the test, 18 of these debris fragments, or 14 percent, are still on orbit.

All but four of the remaining pieces currently have apogee altitudes well above the orbital altitude of the ISS, in the altitude range of many operational satellites. Nine of them have apogee altitudes above 1000 km, one of them up to 1760 km. Their perigees are all below ~280 km.

I appreciate his updates on this, because as easy as it is for this sort of story to fall out of the news cycle, it’s important to keep an eye on it.

Microsat-R was intercepted at an altitude of ~300 kilometers, and there is still debris reaching 1,400 kilometers higher (and 8 other pieces 700 kilometers higher). Those pieces regularly pass through the orbital regimes of the ISS, low-orbiting weather satellites, nearly all satellites in sun-synchronous orbits, and a ton of LEO communications satellites.