PApparently under prodding from the White House, NASA has said it will continue to cooperate with the ISRO, days after the US space agency's chief criticised India and termed its anti-satellite weapon test a "terrible thing" for creating about 400 pieces of orbital debris.
In a letter to ISRO Chairman K Sivan, NASA AdministratorJames Bridenstine said: "based on the guidance received from the WhiteHouse", he looks forward to continuing to work with ISRO on a host ofissues including human space flights.
"As part of our partnership with you, we will continueto work on issues using the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group,Planetary Science Working Group, US India Earth Science Working Group and theHeliophysics Working Group," Bridenstine said.
In his letter, Bridenstine says he recently wrote to ISROabout the suspension of cooperation on human space flight.
"Recently, we sent you a letter indicating a suspensionof activities under the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group," hewrote.
From the April 4 letter, it appears that after the WhiteHouse weighing in, the cooperation remains intact.
The letter comes days after NASA chief Bridenstine in a townhall meeting criticised India's anti-satellite missile (ASAT) test because ofthe debris it generated in the space and its potential threat to theInternational Space Station.
"The anti-satellite weapons test by India last week hasresulted in about 400 pieces of orbital debris," he said on April 1,adding "that is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sendsdebris and an apogee that goes above the International Space Station".
"As we made clear, space debris is a serious issue forthe United States. As it is a growing threat, it is the responsibility of allnations who operate in space," Bridenstine said in his letter, a copy ofwhich has been seen by PTI.
"We will continue to monitor the remaining debris fromyour test as it relates to the safety of our human spaceflight activitiesespecially at the International Space Station," wrote the NASA Administration,according to the letter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on March 27 thatIndia had achieved a "historic feat" by shooting down its ownlow-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile, making the country a"space power".
Only three other countries – the US, Russia and China – haveanti-satellite missile (ASAT) capabilities.