India recently successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test, named Mission Shakti. With this India becoming the fourth country in the world to demonstrate the capability to shoot down satellites in orbit. So far, only the United States, Russia and China have this prowess.
Under Mission Sakti DRDO tested Anti-Satellite(ASAT) missile which hit a live satellite in low Earth orbit of 300km. ASAT is a modified interceptor missile of the Ballistics Missile Defense system(BDM). The Mission was completed in 3 minutes. Low Earth Orbit(LEO) was chosen to minimize the debris.
The satellite downed by the ASAT missile was Microsat-R, an imaging satellite which was launched into orbit on January 24, 2019 using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). India has built the broad capabilities and building blocks to develop ASAT missiles for some time as part of its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme.
Anti-satellite weapons provide the capability to shoot down enemy satellites in orbit thereby disrupting critical communications and surveillance capabilities. ASAT missiles also act as a space deterrent in dissuading adversaries from targeting the country’s satellite network.
In 2007, a similar test by China at an orbit of 800 km above earth had drawn global condemnation.
What is Anti- Satellite Missile?
Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Several nations possess operational ASAT systems. Although no ASAT system has yet been utilised in warfare, a few nations have shot down their own (defunct) satellites to demonstrate their ASAT capabilities in a show of force. Only the United States, Russia, China, and India have demonstrated this capability successfully.
1. The Hindu
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