Based on inputs by Meeta K, and references from dailies across globe
India achieved a major breakthrough in space technology, mission Shakti, that would also enhance India’s military might. India has become the fourth country in the world to have this technology, only behind America, Russia and China.
“Our scientists shot down a live satellite 300 kilometres away in space, in low-Earth orbit,” Prime minister Modi said in a television broadcast. “India has made an unprecedented achievement today, India registered its name as a space power.” he added. (translated from Hindi speech). The satellite destroyed was India’s own.
The other countries might consider this as a danger, but Ajay Lele of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses has stressed that India needed to build anti-satellite weapons “because adversary China has already done it in 2007”. “More than anything I would say through this India is sending a message to the subcontinent,” he added. “India is saying that we have mechanisms for space warfare.
How amazing is Shakti’s feat?
There is a reason why this has been done by only three countries till now. As per reviews in dailies around the world, this feat is considered as complex as “shooting a moving bullet with another bullet. Achieving this shows the engineering and aerospace capabilities of India. The satellite that was targeted was travelling at the speed of 7.8 Km/sec, which is more than 20 times the speed of light. The kinetic energy of the moving body was used to destroy it, which in turn implies that no explosives were used.
If a country can destroy an enemy’s satellites, they can knock out crucial intelligence and communications in one hit. This can cause havoc on any country’s military operations.
The Shakti would help strike down enemy satellites that spy over India, intercept enemy missiles and prevent enemy nations from attacking.
India’s foreign ministry said in a statement that its test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure there was no debris in space and that whatever was left would “decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks”.
In 2012 DRDO admitted the technical capability, however this got final sanction in 2016-17, and mission got a started 6 months back