Indian scientists have successfully conducted Mission Shakti shooting down a live satellite target in the low earth orbit (LEO).
About Mission Shakti:
- Mission Shakti is a joint programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- As part of the mission, an anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapon was launched and targeted an Indian satellite which had been decommissioned. Mission Shakti was carried out from DRDO’s testing range in Odisha’s Balasore.
About anti-satellite missile test:
- It is Called ASAT in short, it is the technological capability to hit and destroy satellites in space through missiles launched from the ground.
- India’s successful ‘kill’ with an A-SAT weapon is significant.
- No country has used an A-SAT against another nation till date. In all the instances, the nations testing anti-satellite missiles have targeted one of their defunct satellites to showcase their space warfare capabilities.
About international law on weapons in outer space:
- The principal international Treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
- India is a signatory to this treaty, and ratified it in 1982. The Outer Space Treaty prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons.
- India expects to play a role in the future in the drafting of international law on prevention of an arms race in outer space including inter alia on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space in its capacity as a major spacefaring nation with proven space technology.
- India is not in violation of any international law or Treaty to which it is a Party or any national obligation.
Significance of the Mission:
- Mission Shakti has made India the fourth nation in the world, with the capability to successfully target satellites through an Anti-Satellite Missile.
- India has a long standing and rapidly growing space programme. It has expanded rapidly in the last five years. The Mangalyaan Mission to Mars was successfully launched.
- Thereafter, the government has sanctioned the Gaganyaan Mission which will take Indians to outer space.
- India has undertaken 102 spacecraft missions consisting of communication satellites, earth observation satellites, experimental satellites, navigation satellites, apart from satellites meant for scientific research and exploration, academic studies and other small satellites.
- India’s space programme is a critical backbone of India’s security, economic and social infrastructure.