Mission Shakti: Anti-Satellite Weapon System of India

Mission Shakti:

  • PM Modi announced that India has successfully test-fired an anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile by shooting down a live satellite.
  • The project named as Mission Shakti was led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was aimed at strengthening India’s overall security.

Key facts:

  • DRDO-developed A-SAT system successfully destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit.
  • India is only the fourth country after the U.S., Russia and China to have the A-SAT technology.
  • The PM Narendra Modi in his address has made clear that the intent of DRDO’s “Mission Shakti” is to defend India’s space assets and not to start an arms race in space.
  • The indigenous development of the A-SAT technology will have many spin-offs that India can exploit for civilian commercial use.
  • The test was carried out from the Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Island launch complex off the coast of Odisha by the DRDO.
  • Since the test was done in the lower atmosphere, whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks.
  • Mission Shakti does not violate the 1967 Outer Space Treaty of which India is a signatory. The treaty prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons.
  • The ASAT test was not directed against any country. India’s space capabilities neither threaten any country nor are they directed against anyone. But as an added advantage the capability achieved through the anti-satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to our growing space-based assets from long-range missiles and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.


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Low Earth Orbit:

  • A Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is an Earth-centered orbit with an altitude of 2,000 km or less.
  • Most of the manmade objects in space are situated in the LEO. The altitude of an object in an elliptic orbit can vary significantly along the orbit.
  • A low Earth orbit requires the lowest amount of energy for satellite placement. It provides high bandwidth and low communication latency.
  • The satellites and space stations in the LEO are more accessible for crew and servicing.

Anti-satellite weapons:

  • The anti-satellite weapons (A-SAT) are designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes.
  • Several nations possess operational ASAT systems, with others in development or design.
  • Although no A-SAT system has yet been utilised in warfare, several nations have shot down their own defunct satellites to demonstrate their ASAT capabilities in a show of force.
  • Including the current development, only the United States of America, Russia, China and India have demonstrated this capability successfully.


India does not violate any treaty:

  • After the successful anti satellite missile, MEA said that its anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapon that successfully destroyed a decommissioned Indian satellite on a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), is not directed against any country and its space capabilities do not threaten anyone.
  • With this test, India joined an exclusive group of space-faring nations consisting of the USA, Russia and China.
  • DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor was used during the test, which is part of the ongoing ballistic missile defence programme.
  • Clarifying over the use of Kinetic Kill technology for carrying out the test instead of other ways to demonstrate A-SAT capabilities such as "fly-by tests” and jamming, the MEA said: "This is a technology where we have developed capability. Space technologies are constantly evolving. We have used the technology that is appropriate to achieve the objectives set out in this mission."
  • India underlined that the test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris, adding that the debris generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks.
  • India is a signatory to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which states that only weapons of mass destruction are prohibited in outer space and not ordinary weapons.
  • India is a party to all the major international treaties relating to Outer Space. The country 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, the government informed.
  • India has been participating in all sessions of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
  • India is supporting 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.




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