DRDO has held a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday to share details on the Mission Shakti in which India downed its own live Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite by using an anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) powered DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Interceptor technology in under three minutes. This cemented India’s place in an elite club of nations that are capable of knocking off satellites in space.
DRDO Chief Satheesh Reddy while addressing the media initially summarized the mission and presented some of the images of the live satellite which was destroyed. He also presented a video which detailed the mission saying:
" The seed for Mission Shakti was sown in 2014 when PM Narendra Modi asked DRDO to work on some challenging technology. Following this, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval held meetings with the scientists at DRDO and the project was launched in 2016. The aim was to neutralize a satellite in the lower orbit while ensuring the safety of our space assets. A Multi-state vehicle with ‘kill-hit’ capability developed using advanced technology was realized and the project was completed in a record time of 2 years.”
“Post the indigenous manufacturing, tests were conducted and the missile was fine tuned to meet with the required parameters. A satellite was launched in January 2019 to serve as a target to hit in the lower orbit.”
Speaking about the launch day, the presentation gave details such as:
“Tracking the satellite’s position and conditions accurately, the missile was launched at 11:09 from Sriharikota on March 27. After achieving the required velocity and height, the kill-vehicle was released. Before the heat shields was ejected, the missile locked to the target and the target was hit with an accuracy measuring within 10cm. Images from the missile confirmed the same.”
On being asked about former Finance Minister Chidambaram's statement on the mission, Reddy informed about the secrecy and validity of the mission saying:
“With a mission of this nature, after a test is conducted, it can’t be kept secret. The satellite is tracked by many stations across the world. All necessary permissions were taken."
Speaking on the enhancement of space capability as a result of Mission Shakti's success, he said:
"When a country like India has done an exercise like this and shown capability of interception of a target, you have shown the capability for such operations. Best way of defence is to have deterrence,"
Further elaborating, the DRDO chief said that all the debris of anti-satellite missile will decay in 45 days.
Throwing light upon the impact of Mission Shakti on defence, he said: