The success story of Mission Shakti was truly scripted by a team of 100 scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. This mission was totally an inspiration form of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. On Wednesday India has become the fourth country to acquire the capability of space warfare. India took a leap to join a club of just three other countries- the US, Russia, and China. DRDO scientists made our country a true space power. The outer space is the common heritage of humankind which is highly believed by Indians. All space-faring nations should preserve and promote the benefit that is advanced through the space technology and its applications.
DRDO is being widely praised for a mammoth and momentous achievement across the country. DRDO propelled India to an elite space club on 27 March 2019 when an anti-satellite missile was successfully tested in the lower orbit of Earth from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Island launch complex. Indian scientists successfully conducted “MISSION SHAKTI” shooting down a live satellite target in the LEO. Low Earth Orbit refers to an altitude up to 2000 km.
A satellite in the LEO has the capability to monitor activities on the ground and water surfaces. Such satellite can be used for espionage and pose a serious threat to the country’s security in the instances of war. An Anti-satellite fired by the DRDO scientists can target an LEO satellite. The missile can weaken or completely terminate the satellite in the LEO range. Nearly 100 scientists entered the A-SAT missile program and were working in mission mode level for about last six months. They were really striving hard to work around the clock to reach the intended launch date target that was set and this test was a greatly successful one having achieved all parameters as per planned.
The development of A-SAT started a few years back and last six months they were able to enter into mission mode. The three-stage missile with two rocket boosters was fired at an Indian satellite 300 kilometers from the planet as part of the test. A-SAT missile has capabilities of targeting all LOW EARTH ORBIT satellites. This is the major defense achievement. It has a range of up to 1000 kilometers plus. Scientists have clarified that the missile is not a derivative of the Prithvi Missile. The DRDO´s Ballistic Missile Defense interceptor was used, which is the part of the ongoing ballistic missile defense program.
The missile has been developed specifically as an anti-satellite weapon. The missile has technologies developed for ballistic missile defense application, particularly the kill vehicle. The entire effort of scientists is indigenous. India had been working in the A-SAT missile program for a decade. They have now successfully attained the capability to hit a live target in space.
The united state first builds space warfare capability in the late 1950s while USSR in 1960s and China in 2007. Till date, no country has used an A-SAT against another nation. India has no plan of entering into a stumps race in outer space. We have always managed that space must be used only for amicable purposes. We are against the weaponization of outer space and support global efforts to strengthen the protection and security of space-based assets. In all instance, the nations are testing anti-satellite missiles have targeted one of their defunct satellite to showcase their space warfare capabilities. The target destroyed by India´s A-SAT missile was an out of service Indian microsatellite which was launched by ISRO on 24 January 2019.
Former DRDO director Dr.V.K.Saraswat said, ‘India has all the building blocks for an anti-satellite system in place. We don’t need to weaponize space but the construction segments should be in position. Because you may come to a time when you may require it.’
‘Today, I can say that all the construction segments (for an ASAT weapon) are in place. A minute fine-tuning may be needed but we will do that electronically. We will not do a physical test (actual destruction of a satellite) because of the jeopardy of space detritus affecting other satellites,’ the former DRDO chief had told India Today in 2012.
India´s feat is only for its own defense needs and not for use against any country. He also emphasized that India was against the arms race in outer space.
This technology has developed capability whereas the space technologies are constantly evolving. Scientists have used the technology that is appropriate to achieve the objectives set out in the mission. India has a long-standing and rapidly growing space research program. It has expanded rapidly in the last 5 years. India has seen an accelerated space program since 2014.
The Mangalyaan Mission to Mars was successfully launched. Thereafter the government has authorized the Gaganyaan Mission that will take Indians to outer space. India has undertaken 102 space crafts missions consisting of communication satellites, earth observation satellites, experimental satellites, navigation satellite, apart from satellite meant for scientific research and exploration, academic studies and other small satellites.
India´s space program is a critical backbone of India’s security, economy, and social infrastructure. It is the government of India´s responsibility to defend the country’s interests in outer space. The test was performed after we had procured the expected degree of resolution to ensure its progress, and reflects the aim of the government to enhance India’s National Security.
India is a party to all the major global treaties relating to Outer Space. India has administered many Transparency and Confidence Building Measures(TCBMs) already. The measures include exposing space objects with the UN register, pre-launch warnings, action in harmony with the UN Space Mitigation guidelines and support in Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination (IADC) actions. These measures are undertaken with respect to space debris management which offers SOPA (Space Object Proximity Awareness and COLA (Collision Avoidance) Analysis and various international cooperation activities, including treating the UN-affiliated Centre for Space and Science Technology Education in Asia and Pacific. India has been engaging in all gatherings of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
India helped UNGA resolution 69/32 on No First Placement of Weapons on Outer Space. We recognize the No First Placement of weapons in outer space as only an interim measure and not a replacement for terminating substantive legal standards to ensure the restriction of an arms race in outer space, which should extend to be a superiority for the international community. India maintains the substantive deliberation of the issue of Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) in the Conference on Disarmament where it has been on the schedule since 1982.
The principles of the international Treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. India is a signatory to this agreement and enacted it in 1982. The Outer Space Treaty bans only weapons of mass collision in outer space, not common weapons. India anticipates playing a part in the future in the drafting of international law on prevention of an arms race in outer space including inter alia on the inhibition of the installation of weapons in outer space in its potential as a major space-faring nation with sustained space technology. India is not in the devastation of any international law or Treaty to which it is a Party or any national obligation.
Without struggle there is no progress, We are proud that our ALUMNI is a part of DRDO. The way you stayed focused and came out on top of this endeavor not only astonished but also inspired us to never give up in life.
-M. Nasreen, Saranya Nagarajan