Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully disposed of one of its communication satellite- INSAT 4B i.e. removing it from its operational orbit and pushing it to a region in space where it won’t interfere with other operational spacecrafts. The reason behind its decommissioning after 14 years of service is the growing concern over debris (space junk) in outer space.
ISRO said ” the successful post-mission disposal of INSAT-4B…marks yet another endeavor by the space agency to ensure the safety and sustainability of outer space operations”, complying with guidelines recommended by UN & Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee.
INSAT-4B was launched in March 2007 aboard Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket, for DTH and other communication services. It was a part Indian National Satellite System. INSAT 4B has history of power failures. Just three years after its launch on 10 July 2010, it suffered a disruption in power from one of the two solar panels rendering half of its transponder capacity useless. INSAT 4B is the 21st Indian Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite to undergo post-mission disposal.
With more countries venturing into space, the debris is adding with every passing year. Not only it poses major risk to International Space Station and the spacecrafts but it has now become a global threat. Space debris is any piece of machinery left in space including dead satellites, fragments of rocket bodies and spacecrafts etc. With increasing debris, Earth orbit can become impassable and the risk of collision grows too high.
To deal with the problem, ISRO launched two missions- Project ‘NETRA’ in December 2020, an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellite and another one is Mission SHAKTI along with Defence Research Development Organisation(DRDO). As a part of this mission, an anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapon was launched and targeted satellite which had been decommissioned.
It seems it is high time for space to have its own Clean Space Mission or space will require its own GRETA THURNBERG to save it from junk produced by human from Earth.