Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday addressed the nation to announce India's magnificent feat in anti-satellite capability. In his address, he said India has become the fourth country in the world to register its name among the Elite Space Powers. The Prime Minister mentioned of scientists shooting down live Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite with anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile in its test 'Shakti mission'. But what does a Low Earth Orbit mean? What makes this achievement so special for India and what does this anti-satellite weapon mission exactly mean? If these are the questions you are having right now, let us help you out. India Becomes Elite Space Power With Successful 'Mission Shakti' Test, Indian A-SAT Missile Shoots Down Low Earth Orbit Live Satellite in Space.
What is Low Earth Orbit?
A Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is an Earth-centered orbit, at an altitude of 2,000 kms from the earth's surface. Objects at this altitude also have an orbital period (i.e. the time it will take them to orbit the Earth once) of between 88 and 127 minutes. The LEO is a satellite system which is used in telecommunication, mainly for e-mails, video conferencing and paging. Most of the man-made objects in space are in these low earth orbit.
The International Space Station conducts its operations in LEO. All the crewed space stations, the majority of satellites, are in the LEO. NASA keeps a track of the number of satellites in orbit. Not all the objects in the LEO are satellites as it also includes pieces of old metals, frozen sewage, broken satellites and even asteroid material.
What is Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) Weapon?
Anti-satellite weapons are designed to destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Several nations destroy their own defunct satellites to demonstrate their capabilities in a show of force in space. Alarm in the U.S. over Mysterious Behaviour of a Russian Satellite.
India's Mission Shakti space program involved taking down a live satellite on the Low Earth Orbit with an anti-satellite. The test mission was completed within 3 minutes of the satellite launch. It marks an important step towards securing India's safety, economic growth and technological advancement. It has successfully tested its anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapon.
Other Elite Space Power Countries
The other countries which have the status of Elite Super Power are the United States of America (USA), Russia and China. India becomes the fourth country in the world to become an elite space power.
The successful test provides a credible source of power to the nation at an international level. Among the rising technological advances, this feat ensures the country's national security. The test conducted was on a microsatellite, not carried out as a threat to anyone but reinforcing its entry into the list of space power.