What is anti-satellite weapon A-SAT? Here is all you need to know
Although A-SAT hasn't been used in any war, nations like the US, Russia and China have used this technology to showcase their defense might by destroying their own satellite.
In his address to the nation on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India's entry into the 'super league' of US, Russia and China after destroying a live low-orbiting satellite through its 3-minute A-SAT missile test. "Our scientists shot down a live satellite at a low-earth orbit," Modi said in his television address to the nation on Wednesday. As India is an emerging power in space, the announcement has made entire nation cheer. But, what is the importance of being into the elite club and what does A-SAT means?
What is A-SAT?
Anti-Satellite or A-SAT weapons are mainly space weapons that are designed to destroy satellites for strategic defense purposes. Although A-SAT hasn't been used in any war, nations like the US, Russia and China have used this technology to showcase their defense might by destroying their own live satellites. After India's successful A-SAT missile test, there are only four such nations — US, Russia, China and India — that possesses this space specialty.
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In the era of strategic defense initiative, which was proposed in the year 1983, focused primarily on the development of systems to defend against nuclear warheads, however, some of the technologies developed may be useful also for anti-satellite use. The encryption or development and design of A-SAT weapons have followed a various number of paths. The initial efforts by the USA and the USSR were using ground-launched missiles from the 1950s; many more exotic proposals came afterward.
How will India use A-SAT?
PM Modi has made it clear that the weapon will not be used against anyone.
"A-SAT missile will give new strength to India’s space prog. I assure the international community that our capability won’t be used against anyone but is purely India’s defence initiative for its security. We are against arms raised in space. This test won’t breach any international law or treaties," he said.