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India Developing Anti-Satellite Spacecraft

PARIS ? India has begun development oflasers and an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle that could be combined to produce aweapon to destroy enemy satellites in orbit, the director-general of India?s defense research organization said Jan. 3.

?The killvehicle, which is needed for intercepting the satellite, needs to bedeveloped, and that work is going on as part of the ballistic missile defenseprogram,? said V.K. Saraswat, director-general of the Defence Research andDevelopment Organisation, which is part of India?s Ministry of Defence.

In atelevised press briefing during the 97th Indian Science Congress inThiruvananthapuram, Saraswat said the program includes the development oflasers ?which will be able to give you a concrete picture of the satellite, anduse that picture to guide your kill vehicle towards that. That work has yet tobe done.?

India is not the first country toannounce plans for anti-satellite spacecraft. In 2007, China intentionally destroyed an old weather satellite during an anti-satellitedemonstration that created a swarm of orbital debris above Earth.

The United States also successfully destroyed a crippled spysatellite in 2008 with an SM-3 missile launched from a Navy ship. Thatsatellite kill was ordered to destroy the falling satellite to avoid toxicdebris from raining down on parts of the U.S., military officials said.

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Charles Q. Choi
Charles Q. Choi is a contributing writer for Space.com and Live Science. He covers all things human origins and astronomy as well as physics, animals and general science topics. Charles has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida. Charles has visited every continent on Earth, drinking rancid yak butter tea in Lhasa, snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos and even climbing an iceberg in Antarctica. Visit him at http://www.sciwriter.us