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ASAT technologies indigenously developed, says DRDO; NSA gave final clearence

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New Delhi, Mar 28: A day after India sucessfully tested Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that they were in mission mode for the last six months, and the final clearence to go ahead with the test was given by National Security Agency (NSA) Ajit Doval in concurrence with the Prime Minister.

BMD Interceptor missile being launched by DRDO in an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test - ‘Mission Shakti’ (Image courtesy - PTI)

India conducted its first anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test on Wednesday, successfully destroying a low earth orbit satellite in space by using a missile which covered a distance of 300 km to engage the target.

What is Anti-satellite (ASAT) Missile?

DRDO Chairman GS Reddy told news agency ANI that the target was hit by a 'Kinetic kill' which means that the missile directly hit the satellite. Complex technologies are needed to ensure that a body in orbit is hit directly. The missile was guided by a radar all among its path. The radar first locates the target satellite and tracks its motion, then the information about the projected path is relayed to the missile.

"We have hit the target by 'Kinetic kill'- that means by directly hitting the satellite.This calls for many technologies which we have developed completely indigenously in the country and we have achieved accuracy within a few centimeters...a very high level of accuracy," Reddy said.

The target was a live satellite which was flying in a low earth orbit. The missile travelled a distance of almost 300 km from earth and hit the target within three minutes of its launch.

"A-SAT missile is capable of targeting all 'Low Earth Orbit' (LEO) satellites.We have the ability to handle LEO satellites but we have intentionally chosen at low altitudes as a responsible nation to see that all the space assets are safe and debris is decayed fast," he added.

After India's test, the United States had raised concerns about the debris of the destroyed satellite that can be left behind. The US, however, did not say whether it believed India's test left debris. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) played down any risk of debris, noting the test was in low-earth orbit, and said the remnants would "decay and fall back on to the earth within weeks."

'Clerical objections': Arun Jaitley hits back at Opposition over missile launch

Reddy said that the development for the A-SAT mission started a few years back and concerned team went into mission mode in the last 6 months.

"The NSA (Ajit Doval) whom we report to on strategic matters gave the direction to go ahead with the test and he had the concurrence from the PM. The development started a few years back and we went into mission mode in the last 6 months," he said.

India is the fourth country to have used such an anti-satellite weapon after the United States, Russia and China. The United States ran the first anti-satellite test in 1959, when satellites themselves were rare and new.

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