In modern warfare, the advancement of technology has taken combat above the ground. Space has already become the focus of military competition among countries.
To have the edge, a country needs a technology that can destroy or incapacitate satellites in space. Such technologies are called Anti-satellite Technology [ASAT]. There are only four powerful countries in the world with such capacity.
1. The United States
In 2006, America created a scouting satellite known as USA-193. But, the satellite didn’t perform as planned. Thus, the US Naval force was directed to obliterate the satellite since it was beginning to rot at a very fast rate.
The U.S government asserted that the annihilation request was on the grounds that the satellite has hydrazine fuel which could hurt people close to the site where it’ll crash if it is allowed reentry into earth. A RIM-161 Standard Rocket 3 ABM arm was dispatched with the aim of blowing the Satellite to pieces in February, 2008.
On November 18, 2015, Russia completed a flight test for its ASAT rocket called PL-19 Nudol. The test was subsequently announced a success. The following year, they sent Nudol on a similar mission again.
After the first and second launch, subsequent ones were performed by the Russian Federation – one in 2016 and the other two in 2018. In September 2018, another kind of anti-satellite projectile was founded by them – the MiG-31.
In 2020, the US asserted that Russia engaged in another ASAT weapon test. The weapon was a direct ascent type and had the ability to obliterate low Earth orbit satellites. It was also announced that Russia conducted another test before the end of 2020.
China started its satellite tests in 2005. At the initial phase, they focused on identification of weapon capacities. Despite that it began late, it didn’t fall behind.
On January 11, 2007, China dispatched an SC-19, otherwise called DN-1 ASAT missile at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. It was the first successful satellite destruction for China in space. From that point forward, they formally entered the field of anti-satellite innovation.
Since then, China has progressively created two new ASAT rockets – the second-age DN-2 and the third-age DN-3. They recorded two successful tests in 2013 and 2017. The success of the innovative creation of DN-1, DN-2, and DN-3 will completely cover the low, medium, and high orbital systems.
The head of India’s DRDO made a statement in 2012 that the nation has sophisticated technologies to fire its anti-satellite weapon. India’s first successful ASAT launching test was carried out on the 27th of March, 2019. The space weapon was called “Mission Shakti.” The target was a dummy satellite at the height of 186mi and was done at Chandpur, Odisha.
The success of Mission Shakti made India one of only four powerful nations with the capacity. Notwithstanding, India has asserted that the achievement is mainly for defense purposes.