Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation on Wednesday March announced that India tested anti-satellite weapon and successfully destroyed a satellite in 3 minutes, thus becoming a Space Superpower. “India shot down a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite, which was a pre-determined target.”
“India has entered its name as an elite space power. An anti-satellite weapon ASAT successfully targeted a live satellite on a low earth orbit. It’s a matter of pride for all of us that it has been done by indigenously developed technology. I congratulate the scientists of DRDO,” he said.
What is Low Earth Orbit?
Low earth orbit is an orbit within a locus extending from the earth’s surface up to an altitude of 1,200 miles. Low Earth Orbits is a system used in telecommunication, which orbit between 400 and 1,000 miles above the earth’s surface. Most of the man-made objects in space are in LEO.
There is a large variety of other sources that define LEO in terms of altitude. The altitude of an object in an elliptic orbit can vary significantly along the orbit. Even for circular orbits, the altitude above ground can vary by as much as 30 km due to the oblateness of Earth’s spheroid figure and local topography.
Importance of Low Earth Orbit?
They are used mainly for data communication such as email, video conferencing and paging. They move at extremely high speeds and are not fixed in space in relation to the earth.
LEO-based telecommunication systems provide underdeveloped countries and territories with the ability to acquire satellite telephone service in areas where it otherwise would be too costly or even impossible to lay land lines.
With this, PM Modi said India has become the 4th nation in the world after US, Russia and China to have a satellite weapon that can take down enemy satellites.
Apart from India, only the United States of America, Russia and China have the capability of shooting down satellites in the LEO as it requires a great technological know-how and execution abilities to hit a target hundreds of kilometres above the surface of the planet.