Two years since ASAT test, DRDO working on several key space technologies

By The Hindu

Two years since the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test under Mission Shakti demonstrated India’s capability to shoot down satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), there is lot of focus within the country on space-based technologies and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on several of them, a senior defence official said on Friday.

The Defence Space Agency (DSA) has also taken shape and there is lot of work going on in Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence (COMINT), and areas like space-based tracking systems, the official said.

On March 27, 2019, the DRDO demonstrated ASAT capability by destroying a live orbiting satellite in LEO of around 300 km with a new interceptor missile in a “hit to kill” mode. The interceptor missile is a three stage missile having two solid rocket boosters and a “hit to kill” capable “kill vehicle” (KV), the official said.

ASAT capability has been fully demonstrated and there is no need for more tests, a second defence official said.

“Technically, the KV had the capability to neutralise the target satellites in the entire LEO region. However, as a responsible nation for peaceful use of space, India had chosen a much lower orbit of around 300 km for capability demonstration with the purpose of avoiding threat of debris to global space assets,” the first official stated. This ensured that the debris would decay in a matter of weeks, the official said.

On the KV, the official said the KV with innovative design homed onto the target satellite.

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