Thursday, April 26, 2012

India successfully launches first microwave radar imaging satellite RISAT - I

In a precision launch PSLV C19 launch vehicle injected India's first microwave radar imaging satellite ( RISAT - I) into orbit nearly 18 minutes after blast off from launch pad at Sriharikota on Thursday.

The heaviest satellite weighing 1858 kg is a remote sensing satellite with a synthetic aperture radar that can penetrate clouds and image earth day and night.

"This is a grand success. This is 20th successive successful flight of PSLV. The satellite reached an orbit of 470 to 480 km orbit as targetted. In the next three days it will be pushed to 536 km altitude and it will enter a polar sun synchronous orbit," said ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan.

He also said that solar panel was deployed and synthetic radar antenna panel opened. "It is pointing to earth. A series of operational test to ascertain health of the satellite will be carried out soon. It will start sending Images from May 1," he added.

Responding to questions Radhakrishnan said that "this is not a spy satellite but can do day and night surveillance which optical sensing satellites cannot do."

The satellite will be used for agriculture imaging and to study floods. "It will be useful because some parts of the country is perennially cloudy and flooded. The satellite can give an estimation of area under cultivation and flood within one hour of the calamitty. Soil moisture, forest biomass, coral reef and geological aspect can be tested" he added. The satellite will supplement results of RISAT II which already sending data.

N Valarmathi, project director claimed that the satellite uses C band and hence cannot be used for surveillance.

Radhakrishnan said that the satellite cost Rs 378 crore while PSLV cost Rs 110 crore. "India is now part of a select group of countries including US, Canada and countries in Europe.".

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