Successful anti-satellite missile test puts India in an elite club
- Prime Minister announced that India has successfully completed Mission Shakti. Mission Shakti is an anti-Satellite(ASAT) missile test. ASAT are missile-based systems to attack moving satellites. The mission has been carried out by bringing down one of the Indian satellites in the low earth orbit. The test was aimed at strengthening the capability to safeguard space assets and India’s overall security.
- Low earth orbit refers to an altitude up to 2,000 km. A satellite in LEO can monitor activities on the ground and water surfaces. Such a satellite can be used for espionage and pose a serious threat to the country’s security in the instances of war. The anti-satellite missile that was fired by DRDO can incapacitate or completely destroy the satellite in the LEO range.
- Mission Shakti was significant because (a)It brings India in the select league of nations that claim to have anti-satellite weapons. Only the United States, China and Russia have demonstrated this capability till now. Israel is also said to possess this capability though it has not carried out a test so far and (b)The satellite is entirely Made in India by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
- According to the database from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non government organisation based in the United States, says that there are at least five known Indian satellites in LEO which are India PiSat, Resourcesat 2,Radar Imaging Satellites 1 and 2 and SRM sat.
- No country has used an A-SAT against another nation till date. In all the instances, the nations testing anti-satellite missiles have targeted one of their defunct satellites to showcase their space warfare capabilities.