NEWS: New agency to develop space warfare weapon systems.
SOURCE: The Hindu.
WHY IN NEWS: With the aim of enhancing the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space, the government has approved the setting up of a new agency which will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies for the purpose.
Mission Shakti an anti-satellite weapon ASAT is successful by targeting a live satellite in a low earth orbit. It is an important step towards securing India's safety, economic growth and technological advancement.
Anti-Satellite (Asat) Weapons
They are missile-based systems to attack moving satellites. So far the United States, China and Russia were the only ones who’ve reported the ability to shoot down space objects from ground or airborne sources.
The development of such systems has a long history — fuelled by the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union — with a waxing or waning of funding. There are different kinds of systems — those that can be launched from the ground or those vaulted from planes.
In the Cold War/Space Race era, 1985 was the last time that the United States had used an anti-satellite system to destroy its P-781 satellite that had instruments aboard to study solar radiation.
While 'Mission Shakti' may have targeted an object in outer space, India has long developed the ability to intercept incoming missiles. In 2011, a modified Prithvimissile, mimicked the trajectory of a ballistic missile with a 600-km range. Radars at different locations swung into action, tracking the “enemy” missile, constructing its trajectory and passing on the information in real time to the Mission Control Centre (MCC) to launch the interceptor, an Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile. It had a directional warhead to go close to the adversarial missile before exploding to inflict damage on it.
Low-Earth Orbit satellites?
The Indian satellite that was shot down was a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite. These are satellites roughly at an altitude of 2,000 kilometres from the earth and that’s the region where majority of satellites are concentrated. A database from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non governmentorganisation based in the United States, says that there are at least 5 known Indian satellites in LEO: India PiSat, Resourcesat 2, Radar Imaging Satellites 1 and2 and SRMsat.