After succesfully launching an A-SAT missile test on Wednesday, the Chairman of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), Dr G. Satheesh Reddy told ANI that the project to develop this rare missle capability began two years ago.
"The NSA (Ajit Doval) whom we report to on strategic matters gave the direction to go ahead with the test and he had the concurrence from the Prime Minister. The development started a few years back and we went into mission mode in the last 6 months," DRDO's Chairman G Satheesh Reddy told ANI.
"In the last 6 months when the A-SAT missile programme entered "mission mode" level, about 100 scientists worked round-the-clock to reach the intended launch date target that was set", he added.
The A-SAT or anti-satellite missile was launched on Tuesday morning at around 11:16 AM from Balasore in Odisha, and it hit the intended target succesfully within three minutes of launch, a de-commissioned Indian satellite, in a "Low-Earth Orbit" at roughly 300 km from the Earth's surface.
"Some time ago, our scientists shot down a live satellite 300 kilometres away in space, in Low-Earth Orbit... It was conducted under Mission Shakti, which was completed in three minutes," PM Modi said during addressing the nation on television.
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. "As a responsible nation we wanted to be sure all space assets were safe and all the debris decayed fast," added DRDO Chairman Reddy.
Asking the reason behind choosing a 300 km-altitude range for the target, Reddy told ANI that protecting nearby space assets had to be considered. "As a responsible nation we wanted to be sure all space assets were safe and all the debris decayed fast," he added.
As soon as PM Narendra Modi address his speech to the nation announcing the success of "Mission Shakti", a detailed note informing the World that India's actions were only to augment its deterrence capabilities and did not intend to trigger an arms race in space was released by India's Ministry of External Affairs (IEA).
"We have noticed reports and hope that each country will uphold peace and tranquillity in outer space", the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement responding to India's A-SAT test on Wednesday.
With "Mission Shakti", India has now entered an elite club of three nations - United States, Russia and China, with similar missile technology. This sort of missile application enables a country to attack and disrupt enemy satellites, thereby affecting communication networks. India's A-SAT missile was an indigenous build.
"We have hit the target by 'Kinetic kill'- that means by directly hitting the satellite. This calls for many technologies which we have developed completely indigenously in the country and we have achieved accuracy within a few centimetres...a very high level of accuracy," Reddy told ANI.