New Delhi: India used a new missile to take down a live satellite in space on Wednesday and the Anti-Satellite (A-SAT ) missile was fired at approximately 11.16 AM on Wednesday from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast.
This was revealed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chairman G Satheesh Reddy to news agency ANI.
Dismissing speculation that the Prithvi class missile was used to hit the orbiting satellite 300 KM above the earth, he said this was a new missile developed specifically as an anti-satellite weapon.
“The missile has technologies developed for ballistic missile defence applications, particularly the kill vehicle,” said Reddy. He added that in addition to this, rocket motors developed in missile complexes were all integrated to make a new A-SAT missile.
He said National Security Advisor Ajit Doval gave the direction to go ahead with the test after getting the Prime Minister’s nod.
“The development started a few years back and we went into mission mode in the last 6 months,” he said, adding 100 scientists worked round-the-clock to meet their intended date of launch.
With the success of “Mission Shakti” (as the operation is called), India has entered an elite club of three nations – United States, Russia and China, with similar missile technology. This sort of missile application enables a country to attack and disrupt enemy satellites, thereby affecting communication networks. India’s A-SAT missile was an indigenous build.
According to an article in news portal The Wire, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said the US military’s Strategic Command was tracking more than 250 pieces of debris from the missile test and would issue “close-approach notifications as required until the debris enters the Earth’s atmosphere,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said.
The news portal said that both India and US have been in talks regarding the event, and India publicly issued an aircraft safety advisory before the launch, Eastburn added.
Lieutenant General David Thompson, vice commander of US Air Force Space Command, added the International Space Station was not at risk at this point.