Only US, Russia and China claimed the title of Space Power and now India has joined the list by shooting down a live satellite on the LEO (Low Earth Orbit) in just three minutes using a missile on March 29, 2019. Anti satellites are space weapons designed to destroy or incapacitate satellites for strategic military purposes.
Beginning of Space Race
Space race was triggered with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in 1957. As a result, the USA and Russia started developing on their own space industries. Today, countries like Canada, Japan, India and China have started to prove their capacity in the space programmes. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to make sure that the benefits of space-based services reach the people on the ground.
Space Agencies of the world
There are six government space agencies in the world. They are; the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), the Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA or Roscosmos), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the China National Space Administration (CNSA), and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
What do satellite do?
They take pictures of the sun, black holes, dark matter or faraway galaxies. Scientists use these pictures to better understand the solar system and the universe. Some satellites are uses for communication such as beaming TV signals and phone calls around the world. Satellites also help in GPS technology which helps figure out our exact location.
Will anti-satellites missiles be used in future wars?
Anti-satellite missiles can destroy enemy satellites in times of war in order to prevent the intelligence and communication networks of a country. It can also be used to destroy the spy satellites. The US tested its anti-satellite missiles in 1958 while the Soviet Union did it in the 1960 and 70s. China tested its anti-satellite missile in 2007. Though Prime Minister Modi reiterated the international community that this new capability of India will be used only for its own security and development, Ajay Lele, senior fellow at the Institute for Defense and Analysis, mentioned that India needed to do it “because adversary China has already done it in 2007”. Therefore, India’s Mission Shakthi programme would be seen as a threat mainly by China and Pakistan.