New Delhi: Days after its first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V was test fired successfully, India on Thursday launched its own spy satellite RISAT-1 from Sriharikota. RISAT-1 is capable of delivering crystal clear pictures in all weather conditions.
The indigenous RISAT-1, which stands for Radar Imaging Satellite, has a lifespan of five years and will be used for disaster prediction and agriculture forestry. RISAT's high resolution pictures and microwave imaging could also be used for defence purposes.
With the launch of RISAT-1, India has joined Japan, Europe, Canada and Israel to boast of such technology. Weighing at 1528 Kg, RISAT-1 is the heaviest satellite ever launched by India. The total cost of the project was around Rs 500 crore.
RISAT-1 was launched using the state-of-the-art new Mission Control Centre for the first time after its inauguration by President Pratibha Patil in January, Mission Director P Kunhikrishnan said.
The launch of RISAT-1 was originally slated for March but the ISRO row, the fall-out of the punitive action against four former space scientists for their role in the Antrix-Devas deal, cast a shadow apparently delaying the preparations.
ISRO used PSLV-XL, high-end version, only third such instance, for the launch. The XL version was earlier used for Chandrayaan-1 and GSAT-12 missions.
The spacecraft, which would be parked at its final orbit of 536 km altitude, has a mission life of five years and would make 14 orbits per day.
Besides use in the agriculture sector, RISAT-1 could also be used to keep round-the-clock vigil on the country's borders, but ISRO officials had said the satellite would not be used for defence applications. RISAT-2, primarily a spy spacecraft, is already doing that job.
RISAT-1's capability to take images in all weather conditions including fog and haze would be a boon for regions perennially under cloud cover.
The satellite carries a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload, operating in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode to provide images with coarse, fine and high spatial resolutions respectively.
The unique characteristics of SAR enable applications in agriculture, particularly paddy monitoring in kharif season and management of natural disasters like flood and cyclone.
The satellite would be particularly useful in Kharif season when cloud-covered atmosphere is frequent. Images taken from the spacecraft of agricultural crops would enable planners with regard to production estimation and forecast.
(With Additional Inputs from PTI)