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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Mission Shakti: How and when other countries conducted anti-satellite weapons

No country has so far used the weapon in conflict situation but nations have destroyed their own defunct or malfunctioning satellites to conduct tests.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2019 14:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A family in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, watches Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Wednesday when he announced the successful test of an anti-missile weapon.
A family in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, watches Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Wednesday when he announced the successful test of an anti-missile weapon.(AP)
         

With Mission Shakti, India on Wednesday joined the elite group of countries that have successfully tested the anti-satellite weapon (ASAT), a weapon that targets and destroys satellites in space.

No country has so far used the weapon in conflict situation but nations have destroyed their own defunct or malfunctioning satellites to conduct tests. Here is a look at other successful tests:

CHINA: On January 11, 2007, China successfully destroyed a defunct Chinese weather satellite, FY-1C. The destruction was reportedly carried out by an SC-19 ASAT missile. FY-1C was a weather satellite orbiting Earth in polar orbit at an altitude of about 865 km with a mass of about 750 kg. The missile was launched from a mobile Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle at Xichang and the warhead destroyed the satellite in a head-on collision at an extremely high relative velocity.

UNITED STATES: On February 20, 2008, the US announced that it had destroyed USA-193, an American reconnaissance satellite. According to the US government, the primary reason for destroying the satellite was the approximately 450 kg of toxic hydrazine fuel contained on board, which could pose health risks to persons in the immediate vicinity of the crash site should any significant amount survive the re-entry.

RUSSIA: The country first successfully tested its anti-satellite missile, PL-19 Nudol, on November 18, 2015. In May 2016, Russia tested the anti-satellite weapon for the second time. It was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome test launch facility.

Three more launches were reportedly held in December 2016, in March 26, 2018 and in December 23, 2018.