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The great gig in the sky

The recent ASAT test carried out by China has once again brought to the surface the threat of a space arms race between major world powers, writes Neha Walia.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2007, 03:14 IST
Neha Walia
Neha Walia

USA: The world’s dominant space power is moving forward with plans to develop three types of space weapons — the space-based laser; the kinetic kill interceptor, intended for missile defense; and the kinetic energy anti-satellite system (KEASAT).

Russia: Has been conducting ASAT tests involving satellite destruction since the 1970s. With its desire to come to par with the US in space defence technology, it has achieved considerable progress in developing Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons.

European Union (EU): EU nations, in agreement with North Atlantic Treat Organisation (NATO), are working on developing an active layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence programme, designed to protect troops from short-range ballistic missiles. Countries like Germany and UK are working on devising earth surveillance satellites.

India: Has recently shown interest in technologies that could be converted for use in military space programmes. In November 2006, it successfully tested an anti-ballistic missile system using a hit-to-kill vehicle. And recently, it unveiled a supersonic anti-missile system called Atmospheric Intercept System (AXO).

North Korea: Considered one of the major ‘rogue countries’, North Korea is working consistently to expand its nuclear and space defence capabilities. It has built second-generation long-range ballistic missiles based on Russian technology. It is also developing its own space launch missiles.

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