India successfully test-fired a sophisticated anti-satellite missile in -Mission Shakti- and destroyed a live satellite flying in low-Earth orbit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today in a televised national address. This successful space mission has made India the fourth country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability, making it a "space superpower". The Prime Minister assured the international community that -"our capability will not be used against anyone but is purely India's defence initiative for its security. We're against arms race in space. This test will not breach any international law or treaties."
Here's all you need to know about Mission Shakti:
Mission Shakti is an anti-satellite missile test, under which, an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile shot down the Low Earth Orbit satellite "within three minutes of launch".
The satellite used in the mission was one of India's existing satellites operating in lower orbit. The satellite was in orbit at 300 kilometres when it was destroyed.
With the successful launch of the ASAT, India has entered the exclusive group of nations with capabilities to launch such advanced missiles. It is now the fourth nation to have successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile after the US, Russia and China.
The entire effort of Mission Shakti is indigenous and has been carried out by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
With Mission Shakti, India has successfully demonstrated its capability to interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space based on complete indigenous technology.
For Mission Shakti, the DRDO's Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor was used, which is part of the ongoing ballistic missile defence programme.
The anti-satellite missile test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris. Whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks.
PM Modi called it a test of India's capability to shoot down low orbit satellites and asserted that India's action was not directed against any country. "Mission Shakti was a highly complex one, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision. It shows the remarkable dexterity of India's outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme," the Prime Minister said in a tweet after his address to the nation.
Mission Shakti has strengthened India's space programme and is a step towards India's safety, economic growth, technological advancement and will further peace and harmony, PM Modi said.
The capability achieved through the anti-satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to India's growing space-based assets from long range missiles, and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.