What Mission Shakti meant for India

by Editorial

An Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) test was successfully conducted by DRDO on 27 March, 2019 with a new interceptor missile against a live orbiting satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a “Hit to Kill” mode. The interceptor missile is a three-stage missile having two solid rocket boosters and a “Hit to Kill” capable Kill Vehicle (KV). The A-SAT mission was conducted, as per the directives of the PM in 2016, to demonstrate India’s advancing technological capabilities in engaging space-based threats involving complex mission planning and execution.

The geographically distributed C4I weapon system detected, tracked and classified it as a satellite. The mission control centre (MCC) authorized destruction of the target through an assignment to the launch control centre (LCC). The LCC, in turn, computed a feasible intercept solution, prepared and launched the interceptor missile from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Dhamra, Odisha. The “Kill Vehicle (KV)” was released as per the real-time computation of the sequence of events followed by the jettisoning of the heat shield. The KV with innovative design and the indigenous state of the art “Hit to Kill technology” homed onto the target satellite. The advanced terminal guidance with the strap down Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) seeker and Ring Laser gyro based inertial navigation system guided the KV to hit the target satellite at closing speeds of more than 10 km/sec. The Electro Optical Tracking System (EOTS) tracked the entire engagement and captured the “Direct Hit” which was also corroborated by the last image frame of onboard IIR seeker. Technically, the KV had the capability to neutralize the target satellites in the entire LEO region. However, as a responsible nation for peaceful use of space, India had chosen a much lower orbit of around 300 km for capability demonstration with the purpose of avoiding threat of debris to the global space assets. This ensured that the debris would decay in a matter of weeks.


It all started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation. In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today. India has successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile. Congratulations to everyone on the success of Mission Shakti. Mission Shakti was a highly complex one, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision. It shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme. Mission Shakti is special for 2 reasons:

(1) India is only the 4th country to acquire such a specialised & modern capability.

(2) Entire effort is indigenous. India stands tall as a space power! It will make India stronger, even more secure and will further peace and harmony.”


Shortly after his address to the nation, Prime Minister spoke to scientists involved with the successful conduct of Mission Shakti, via video conference. The successful conduct of Mission Shakti has made India the fourth nation in the world, with the capability to successfully target satellites through an Anti-Satellite Missile. Congratulating them on their success, the Prime Minister said that the entire nation is proud of our scientists for achieving well, what they had set out to accomplish. He said that in line with the “Make in India” initiative, the scientists have given a message to the world that we are less than no one.

The Prime Minister said that India follows the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam—the world is one family. He however, also emphasized, that the forces which work for peace and goodwill, must remain ever-powerful, for the achievement of peace. The Prime Minister asserted that for global peace and regional peace, India should be capable and strong. He said that the scientists have contributed to this effort with dedication. He also conveyed the greetings of the entire Union Cabinet to the scientists. The scientists thanked the PM for giving them this opportunity to prove their skills.


Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ from the Dr AP J Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha 27th March 2019. A DRDO-developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode. The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters. Tracking data from range sensors confirmed that the mission met all its objectives. The test demonstrated the Nation’s capability to defend its assets in outer space. It was a vindication of the strength and robust nature of DRDO’s programmes. With this India joined a select group of nations, which have such capability. The test once again proved the capability of indigenous weapon systems.


On 6 April 2019, a special interaction session was organized by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to present first-hand account of the mission details, development milestones including technological aspects of Mission Shakti. Many eminent serving/retired strategic experts, technocrats, diplomats, top brass of Armed forces, Scientific fraternity across various departments participated in the deliberations.

DRDO presented the objectives, mission challenges and achievements of the Anti-Satellite Test (A-SAT). DRDO had successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite Missile Test (A-SAT) ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on March 27, 2019 and made India join the select group of three nations (USA, Russia and China) possessing such capability. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Principal Scientific Adviser to Govt of India, Prof K Vijay Raghavan, Deputy National Security Advisers Pankaj Saran & Rajinder Khanna, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy K.N. Vyas, Secretary Dept of Science & Technology, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences Dr M. Rajeevan, strategic experts and think tank of India, former DRDO chiefs and retired service officers along with Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D Dr G Satheesh Reddy were present during the event.


A customised ‘My Stamp’ on India’s First Anti Satellite Missile (A-SAT) launch was released by Department of Posts on the occasion of Engineers Day today in the august presence of Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor (NSA) on the 1st anniversary of Mission Shakti. On the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Research and Development Organisation had successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ exactly a year ago. The entire effort was indigenous which demonstrated the Nation’s capability to develop such complex and critical missions. A number of industries also participated in the mission. With this success, India became fourth nation in the world to possess such capability.

Doval in his address had stated that it was a very brave step on part of DRDO to go for Mission Shakti. He further stated that DRDO has plenty of achievements to be proud of; however, the future is in space-based technologies. Satellites are critical and with this capability India can defend its assets in space. He appreciated the way in which the mission was kept a secret and complimented the whole DRDO fraternity for doing well in all other fields.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, Secretary DDR&D & Chairman DRDO had thanked Prime Minister and NSA for having confidence in DRDO and assigning such a critical and complex mission to DRDO. He had further stated that A-SAT mission enabled development of many technologies and capabilities for precision kill at higher altitudes. He had called upon DRDO fraternity to take up more such complex and critical projects. The function was also attended by Pradipta Kumar Bisoi, Secretary, Department of Posts and Senior Scientists of DRDO. The release of Stamp reminded the nation about the technological achievement, which made the nation proud.

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