Unexpected News: India Shot Down Its Own Satellite

If confirmed, it would be only the 4th nation with the ability to do so
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2019 8:44 AM CDT
An Indian family watches prime minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on television, in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh state, India, Wednesday, March 27, 2019.   (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

(Newser) – India declared itself a space power Wednesday after announcing that it has joined the list of just three other countries with the ability to take down a satellite in space. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address described by the AP as "unexpected" that Indian scientists shot down one of its satellites in low-Earth orbit, just shy of 200 miles away. The US, Russia, and China are the only other nations that have employed such weapons. What you need to know:

  • The history: Reuters reports the first anti-satellite test was conducted by the US in 1959 and demonstrated America's capabilities: Its missile could have destroyed a satellite but did not. The Soviet Union followed suit, and in 1985 the US destroyed one of its own satellites using a weapon launched from an F-15 fighter jet. Then for two decades, nothing. In 2007, China entered the ring.

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