Mission Shakti: Space debris warning after India destroys satellite

Narendra Modi biopic slammed as propaganda by opposition ahead of Indian election

Indian Prime Minister Announces Successful Anti-Satellite Weapon Test in National Address

Hyderabad's Research Centre Imarat (RCI) was behind the entire design and development of the indigenously built Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile, which on Wednesday was used to bring down a live satellite.

In 2012, India conducted simulated tests, establishing the capability but the then Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had not given permission for a live test, likely over concerns that a destroyed satellite would result in debris that would damage satellites of other countries.

India's foreign ministry 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".

"It was not a good sign for LEO (low earth orbit)".

When asked the reason behind choosing a 300 km-altitude range for the target, Reddy said that protecting nearby space assets had to be considered.

China's foreign ministry said it hoped all countries could "earnestly protect lasting peace and tranquillity in space", while Russian Federation declined to make any immediate comment. However, he said that no formal ASAT programme had been taken up earlier.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the ASAT test in an unexpected national address on Wednesday, saying India had "established itself as a global space power".

India's foreign ministry said in a statement that Mission Shakti took out a live satellite at an altitude of nearly 300 kilometers (186 miles.) This is a pretty low orbit-not as far out as the International Space Station-so it should create relatively little harmful debris compared with China's messy 2007 anti-satellite test, which took place at around 865 kilometers. "Space is a place where people should have the freedom to operate", Mr Shanahan told reporters after India's test.

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China's 2007 test - which destroyed a defunct weather satellite - left a large debris cloud in orbit. "It's an attempt to bolster nationalist fervor by another means", Mukhopadhyay said, after realizing the patriotic mood generated by tensions between India and Pakistan was "not sufficient" to continue until the end of elections.

Lele added that a political decision was required as conducting anti-satellite missiles tests could attract worldwide criticism over issues of adding to debris in space and accusations of militarising space. "The technology in ballistic missiles is highly advanced and credit must go to our scientists for developing them indigenously", a senior defence scientist said.

The tests were conducted four years after the Nuclear Proliferation Test (NPT) Treaty came into force in 1970.

"The successful test also acts as a deterrent in event of a space war".

With the much-awaited elections just round the corner, over 90 per cent of first-time eligible voters are expected to vote in the upcoming elections, a Twitter India survey revealed on Wednesday.

"Not having rules and engagement is worrisome, so how people test and develop technology is important, but how we share this critical domain - I would expect anyone who tests does not put at risk anyone else's assets".

Now, the spectre of space war has spilled over from the realm of Hollywood fiction into Indian reality.

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