Russia’s Direct-Ascent Anti-Satellite (DA-ASAT) test

A direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile was tested by Russia on November 15, 2021.

Highlights

  • DA-ASAT missile struck a Russian satellite called COSMOS 1408, as a result, debris field in low-Earth orbit.
  • This test has generated about 1500 pieces of trackable orbital debris, so far.
  • It will generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris, in future tests.
  • As per initial assessment of USSPACECOM, these debris will remain in orbit for years. As a result, it poses a significant risk for the crew on the International Space Station.
  • USSPACECOM is continuously monitor the trajectory of debris. It will ensure that all space-faring nations get information necessary to safeguard their on-orbit activities.

Direct Ascent Anti-Satellite Missile Test by Russia

Russia’s First ever direct ascent anti-satellite missile called PL-19 Nudol, was test-fired on November 18, 2015.  Russia tested the Nudol for the second time, in May 2016. Nudol was launched from “Plesetsk cosmodrome test launch facility” which is located 805 kilometres north of Moscow. In 2016, Russia conducted three more launches. Russia conducted a direct ascent anti-satellite missile test in 2020, which was capable of taking-out spacecraft or satellites in low Earth orbit.  Its most recent test was in November 2021, that destroyed Kosmos 1408.

Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT)

ASAT are space weapons, that have been designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic or tactical purposes. No ASAT system has yet been used in warfare. But, countries like India, US, Russia and China have successfully shot down their own satellites to demonstrate capabilities of their ASAT.

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