Military

Indian anti-satellite missile test meets with success

The satellite was destroyed by a Shakti missile
The satellite was destroyed by a Shakti missile
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The satellite was destroyed by a Shakti missile
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The satellite was destroyed by a Shakti missile

India has conducted its first anti-satellite weapons test, destroying an existing satellite today in low-Earth orbit. On its official website, the Indian government confirmed that a missile launched from the Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Island launch complex took out a previously launched Indian satellite as part of Mission Shakti, which is tasked with testing the country's means for protecting its space assets.

Anti-satellite weapons aren't new. Systems capable of destroying orbital spacecraft have been around since the 1960s and include everything from specialized anti-satellite satellites packed with explosives, to repurposed shipborne anti-missile missile systems that can take out space targets without any special modifications.

However, for various technological and diplomatic reasons, very few spacefaring nations have actually developed anti-satellite weapons. Today's test makes India the fourth to do so after the United States, Russia, and China.

The Indian government says that the test was conducted by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and was fully successful, demonstrating the country's ability to knock out a satellite with a high degree of precision using indigenous technology. The missile was a DRDO Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor developed as part of India's general missile defence program. It operated as expected, but carried no explosive warhead. Instead, it was what is known as a "kinetic kill," where the hypersonic velocity of the interceptor is enough to destroy the target.

The government stresses that India is not involved in a space arms race, that the test is in accordance with existing arms treaties, and is not directed at any other nation. In addition, it says that the target was destroyed in the upper atmosphere and that any debris generated will leave orbit within weeks.

Source: Government of India

8 comments
WB
Thank you india for your complete ignorance and backwardness. This lame test will massively limit humanity's access to space for decades to come and possibly threaten many many life's. The amount of recklessness and the lack of understanding how space debris works is simply hard to comprehend. A sad day for India and humanity.
Daishi
The steady rise of Asia continues.
Deres
What I do not understand is why they do not use a type of inflated balloon as the target for such tests. There would be no debris left after the test. Moreover, as the target would be very light, it would be considerably cheaper that a real satellite.
TonyB
It was a low orbit test, debris will reenter quickly and be destroyed on re-entry. No danger to anyone, let alone "humanity"!
amazed W1
To be fair, India knows that as a nearly unaligned and independent space race nation, its satellites would probably be the first to be taken out by any of the three other current satellite owners when they chose to attack one another. The rest of us need this nearly independent assessment of who is rocketing whom, so India's demonstration that it could retaliate is more than welcome. "Mutually Assured Detection?".
MarylandUSA
Deres, Unlike a low-orbit satellite, a balloon doesn't move at high speed.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
One of the first satellites was Echo, a balloon! The orbit will decay quickly because of low density. The orbit of low density debris will decay even more quickly.
Darus Zehrbach
This was not much of an achievement. In the mid 1990s I was an engineer on a special engine modified F14 that simply zoomed up to altitude and could then shoot and hit a satellite with a regular wing mounted rocket. So about 22 years later, India does it. For what gain? Show off?