ISRO launches super surveillance satellite, can pierce cloud cover
In its third mission of the year, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday successfully put into orbit an earth observation satellite that can see through thick clouds and enhance the country’s surveillance capabilities in military and civilian sectors to keep an eye also on terror camps across the border in Pakistan. Dubbed as a ‘spy’ satellite, RISAT-2B (Radar Imaging Satellite-2B) will replace its predecessor RISAT-2 which has been actively used by India to monitor activities in terror camps across the border in Pakistan to thwart infiltration bids by terrorists. RISAT was successfully launched in 2009.
The RISAT-2B is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar that can take pictures of the earth during day and night, and also under cloudy conditions, said an official of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO).
“It’s an all-weather satellite which can take images of the earth during the day, night and even cloudy conditions,” ISRO chairman K Sivan said.
The satellite, RISAT-2B, will use radar imaging for applications in forestry and agriculture as well for its five-year mission life. With a lift-off weight of 615 kg, RISAT-2B was launched aboard India’s workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV- C46), in the core-alone configuration without any of the six add-on engine.
The lift-off took place at 5.30am. The whole mission lasted just 15 minutes 25 seconds, much shorter than the last PSLV mission carried out this year.
The three-hour-long PSLV C45 mission in April injected into orbit an Indian intelligence gathering satellite, EMISAT, along with 28 international customer satellites. Wednesday’s was the second launch that people witnessed from the viewing gallery.
More than 5,000 people viewed the launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
Wednesday’s mission takes to 50 tonnes the payload that ISRO has placed in space by launching 354 satellites, including national, student and foreign satellites.
Sivan praised the efforts of the team involved in the realisation of the piggyback payload carried on-board the mission. “RISAT-2B is an advanced earth observation satellite with an advanced technology of 3.6m radial rib antenna,” he said.
This will be the first mission of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III, which was inducted into ISRO’s set of operational rockets after the second successful development flight carrying the 3423 kg communication satellite GSAT-29 in November last year.