India Conducts Successful ASAT Test

On March 27, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) conducted a successful anti-satellite intercept test. Designated “Mission Shakti” (“Strength”), the test involved an indigenously produced “Ballistic Missile Defense Interceptor” launched off India’s Odisha coastal test range to target a satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), at a height of approximately 300 km. India’s Press Information Bureau reported that the interceptor missile was “a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters,” but other design specifications are unclear. Indian officials said the target satellite was the Microsat R, a 750 kg military satellite launched in January 2019. Addressing concerns about resulting space debris, DRDO Chief G. Satheesh Reddy said any debris “should be dying down within 45 days.” U.S. defense officials report they are tracking over 250 pieces of debris from the ASAT test. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the test, announcing that “India is now an established space power.” The test makes India the fourth country to have demonstrated an anti-satellite capability, following the United States, Russia, and China.