- India on 27th march 2019, successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test, under the Mission named Shakti.
- With this successful test, India has become 4th nation in world, after USA, Russia, and China, having the capacity to destroy a targeted satellite in space.
- During the test, a low orbit satellite was shot down at an altitude of 300 km.
- The satellite downed by the Anti Satellite missile was Microsat-R, an imaging satellite which was launched into orbit on January 24, 2019.
- The Anti satellite Missile is a part of an ambitious project of India called –Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme.
More about Anti Satellite Missile (ASAT).
- Basically Anti Satellite Missile is a modified version of an Anti Ballistic Missile. In an Anti ballistic Missile, the target is a moving Ballistic Missile, likewise in case of Anti satellite Missile system the target is a moving Satellite.
- In the both the cases the missile can be launched from land or Air.
- During War, or an imminent threat, the Anti SAT missile can be used to disrupt the communication and Surveillance System of enemy state.
- Anti SAT missile can also be used to protect our own satellites against any possible attack from enemy state missiles.
- The concept of ASAT missile born in 1950s and 1960s, when the Cold War between USSR and USA was at peak.
- During cold War both USA and USSR were creating capabilities to counter the Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
- An ICBM or simply a Ballistic Missile, when launched, leaves the earth Atmosphere – travel in lower space for a while and then again enters into atmosphere, before it hits the target.
- An Anti ballistic missile intercepts and destroys an ICBM while it travels in lower Space.
- The Same Theory Applies to an Anti SAT missile.
Types of ASAT system:
- Three types of ASAT systems are under development, namely, Direct Ascent Systems, Soft Kill Systems and Micro satellites.
- Direct Ascent Systems feature a land-based missile that is directed against the target satellite. The launch of SC 19 Missile by china on 11 Jan 2007 to kill the FY -1C polar orbit satellite of the Fengyun Series was the apt demonstration of this capability. Indian Mission Shakti also tested the same Technology.
- The soft kill capability – China is reportedly developing high power laser and microwave weapons that can either disrupt or electrically damage a satellite. One such high power laser is under development since 1995 and was tested on an orbiting US satellite 2006.
- Micro – Satellite – In 2008, the two astronauts on board Shenzhou 7 reportedly released a microsatellite that flew at a relative speed of 17000 mph and passed dangerously close (27 Km) to the International Space Station (ISS). At such relative speeds, a possible collision could have destroyed both the objects.
- No doubt India has taken a great leap in the field of missile technology. As described aptly by P.M. Modi: with the success of the Mission Shakti, India has entered into elite group of Nations having the same capacity. However we still need to cover a long distance in order to compete with China as it has already made many improvements in the same technology.
- After the Mission Shakti, China has commented “We urge all countries to maintain peace and tranquility in space”. India has always stood to its policy of International Peace and Stability; however these technological Advancements also confirm our vow to protect our national Interest at any cost.