Mission Shakti puts India in Elite Space Club

Mission Shakti: Anti-Satellite Missile Test, blowing up a satellite in a Low Earth Orbit into smithereens, a technological mission carried out successfully by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with a modified exo-atmospheric missile of the ballistic missile defence at an altitude of 300 km, with extremely high degree of precision, from Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Island launch complex on Wednesday 27 March 2019 to demonstrate the capability to shoot down satellites in orbit, which puts India in elite space club consisting of USA, Russia and China. India is now the fourth country in the world to have this prowess.

Targeted satellite was identified as Microsat-R, an imaging satellite, launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 24 January 2019 using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The satellite, weighing 740 kg, was then placed in an orbit of 274 km above earth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today. India has successfully tested Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile. Congratulations to everyone on the success of Mission Shakti”, and addressing the nation he said, “भारत ने एक अभूतपूर्व सिद्धि हासिल की है। भारत ने आज अपना नाम अंतरिक्षमहाशक्ति – स्पेस पावर – के रूप में दर्ज करा दिया है।“

  • India demonstrated its capability to interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space based on complete indigenous technology in the ASAT Missile Test by blowing its existing defunct satellite operating in lower orbit at an altitude of 300 km in just three minutes and destroyed it.
  • Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is located at altitudes between 200 and 2000 Km from the earth and that’s the region where majority of satellites are concentrated.
  • PiSat, Resourcesat 2, Radar Imaging Satellites 1 and 2, and SRMsat, are known Indian satellites in LEO.
  • Satellite targeted with ASAT missile under Mission Shakti has broken up into at least 270 pieces, most of which are expected to disintegrate within 45 days, Defence sources on Friday 29 March 2019 said, “The satellite has disintegrated into at least 270 pieces which has also been confirmed by the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). One of them is a large piece that has been deorbited and is estimated to be completely degraded by April 5”.
  • Mission Shakti’s debris posed no immediate threat to the International Space Station or most other satellites in Low Earth Orbit.
  • China’s 2007 ASAT test in an orbit of around 800 km created around 3,000 pieces of debris, of which 616 have decayed. The rest are still in orbit.
  • Debris pose significant risk to satellites and other systems launched into orbit as they last for a long time especially in higher orbits.
  • DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor, which is part of the on-going ballistic missile defence programme, was used.
  • Space technologies are constantly evolving.
  • India used the Kinetic Kill technology, where it has developed capability and which is appropriate to achieve the objectives set out in this mission.
  • There are other ways also to demonstrate ASAT capabilities such as “fly-by tests” and Jamming.
  • The entire effort was indigenous.
  • Whatever debris that generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks.
  • India has long developed the ability to intercept incoming missiles.
  • Display of technological prowess through ASAT Missile Test accentuates military dimension and brings into play an overwhelming assurance of a ‘credible deterrence’ against attacks on India’s growing number of space assets.
  • This capability gives India great strategic and military advantage during a war or an armed conflict, or even as a part of a pre-emptive surgical strike.
  • Mission Shakti was an important step towards securing India’s safety, economic growth, technological advancement and social infrastructure.
  • India’s motive was to spread peace and not indulge any war.
  • India has undertaken 102 spacecraft missions consisting of communication satellites, earth observation satellites, experimental satellites, navigation satellites, apart from satellites meant for scientific research and exploration, academic studies and other small satellites.
  • Mangalyaan Mission to Mars was successfully launched.
  • Gaganyaan Mission which will take Indians to outer space has been sanctioned by the government.

India has a long standing and rapidly growing space programme that has seen an accelerated development since 2014 and it is the Government of India’s responsibility to defend its interests in outer space.

ASAT Missile Test was done to verify that India has the capability to safeguard our space assets, after we had acquired the required degree of confidence to ensure its success. It reflects the intention of the government to enhance India’s national security.
India has no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space. We have always maintained that space must be used only for peaceful purposes. We support international efforts to reinforce the safety and security of space based assets.

India believes that Outer space is the common heritage of humankind and it is the responsibility of all space-faring nations to preserve and promote the benefits flowing from advances made in space technology and its applications for all.

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