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Mission Shakti : India’s First ASAT Test
March 28, 2019

Neetu Singh

Mission Shakti

India is now one of the few countries to take down satellites in space, after a DRDO missile tested off the Odisha coast successfully hit a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite. The Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test has also raised a number of questions about its capabilities. Here is all you need to know about India’s new space slayer. The test

The test

On March 27, 2019 India conducted Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite missile test, from the Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Island launch complex. This was a technological mission carried out by DRDO. The satellite used in the mission was one of India’s existing satellites operating in lower orbit. The test was fully successful and achieved all parameters and it required an extremely high degree of precision and technical capability.


Significance

The significance of the test is that India has tested and successfully demonstrated its capability. Which is to interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space based on complete indigenous technology. With this test, the country joins an exclusive group of space faring nations consisting of USA, Russia, and China.

The  satellite used The satellite used was an Indian satellite.

The  Missile/Interceptor used The DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defense interceptor was used, which is part of the ongoing ballistic missile defense  programme. The 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.

India has a long standing and rapidly growing space programme. It has expanded rapidly in the last five years. The Mangalyaan Mission to Mars was successfully launched. Thereafter, the government sanctioned the Gaganyaan Mission which will take Indians to outer space.

India has also 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. India’s space programme is a critical backbone of India’s security, economic and social infrastructure.

The government has stated that it has no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space. The country has always maintained that space must be used only for peaceful purposes. The government has also stated that India is against the weaponization of Outer Space and 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.

India is also a party to all the major international treaties relating to Outer Space. India already implements a number of Transparency and Confidence Building Measures(TCBMs) – including registering space objects with the UN register, prelaunch notifications, measures in harmony with the UN Space Mitigation Guidelines, participation in Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination (IADC) activities with regard to space debris management, undertaking SOPA (Space Object Proximity Awareness and COLA (Collision Avoidance) Analysis and numerous international cooperation activities, including hosting the UN affiliated Centre for Space and Science Technology Education in Asia and Pacific. India has been participating in all sessions of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

India also supported UNGA resolution 69/32 on No First Placement of Weapons on Outer Space. Equally, India supports the substantive consideration of the issue of Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) in the Conference on Disarmament where it has been on the agenda since 1982. The International law on weapons in outer space

International Laws

The principal international Treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. India is a signatory to this treaty, and ratified it in 1982. The Outer Space Treaty prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons.

India expects to play a role in the future in the drafting of international law on prevention of an arms race in outer space .

India is not in violation of any international law or Treaty to which it is a Party or any national obligation.

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