Defence Research and Development Organisation chief G Satheesh Reddy on Saturday said India had chosen a much lower orbit of less than 300 km during Mission Shakti test for “capability demonstration” and to avoid threat of debris to global space assets, PTI reported. Reddy said the orbital debris from the test will decay within 45 days from the day of the launch.

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. National Aeronautics and Space Administration administrator Jim Bridenstine had described the test as a “terrible, terrible” thing. On Thursday, Bridenstine had reportedly promised to continue its cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organisation.

“An orbit of around 300 km was chosen for the test for capability demonstration, and the purpose was to avoid threat of debris to any global space assets,” Reddy said at a press conference.

The DRDO chief said the weapon has boosted the country’s defence. “The country has shown ground-based direct hit deterrence capability, it works for the defence also,” Reddy added. “Pin-point accuracy was achieved and space debris concerns were addressed by extensive simulations.”

The Ministry of External Affairs had said the test is significant because India has “tested and successfully demonstrated its capability to interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space based on complete indigenous technology”.

Debris from China’s 2007 anti-satellite missile launch is still floating around in space. The test created nearly 3,000 pieces of debris, AFP had reported. The United States military is currently tracking 23,000 objects in space, of which 10,000 are debris.