A US-based China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI) report has claimed that China hacked Indian satellite communications in 2017 among other counter-space activities. The 142-page report says that between 2012 and 2018, China carried out multiple cyber battles, even as the Indian Space Research Organisation maintains that its systems have not been compromised so far.
However, many say ISRO hasn’t been able to pinpoint sources of cyber-battles over the years. “Cyber threats are a given but it cannot be ascertained who is behind such Hacks. We’ve systems in place to alert us and I don’t think we’ve ever been compromised,” a senior scientist said, adding that “the Chinese may have tried and failed.” ISRO chairman K Sivan has denied any direct knowledge of such an attack on Indian ground stations.
As per the report, China has multiple other counter-space technologies, including ascent kinetic-kill vehicles (anti-satellite missiles), co-orbital satellites, directed-energy weapons, jammers, and cyber capabilities, that are intended to threaten adversary space systems from ground to geosynchronous orbit (SEO). Notably, in 2019, India had demonstrated Anti-Satellite (A-Sat) missile technology on March 27 that gave India a ‘kinetic kill’ option to dismantle enemy satellites.
CASI supports the secretary, chief of staff of the US Air Force, the US chief of space operations, and other senior air and space leaders. It provides expert research and analysis supporting decisions and policymakers in the US Department of Defense and across the US government. India, on Wednesday, carried out successful testfiring of the Prithvi short-range ballistic missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore off the coast of Odisha.
The missile achieved its all-mission objective as decided by Strategic Forces Command. DRDO conducted a night testfire of the nuclear-capable surface-to-surface missile as a part of user trials for the Indian Army.
The launch of the missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range at Balasore. “The missile trajectory was tracked by radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations by the DRDO along the coast of Odisha,” a DRDO official was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Last such test was conducted on November 20, 2019. Capable of carrying 500-1000 kg of warheads, Prithvi-II is powered by liquid propulsion twin engines. An integral guidance system helps it manoeuvre the trajectory to hit the desired target. The first missile to be developed by the DRDO under its flagship Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), Prithvi has already been inducted into the arsenal of the armed forces in 2003.