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In a predawn launch, a PSLV rocket of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) placed RISAT-2B, an X-band microwave Earth observation satellite, into orbit 556 km above earth.
- The PSLV-C46 launcher carrying the 615-kg RISAT-2B blasted off at 5.30 a.m. The satellite reached its designated position and started orbiting in space with an inclination of 37°.
- After the satellite separated from the launcher, its solar arrays deployed automatically.
- the RISAT-2B is built to operate for at least five years.
- Two important secondary or piggyback trial payloads that would revolutionise its future missions were also included in the launch.
- They are the new Vikram processor from Semiconductor Laboratory (SCL), Chandigarh, that will control future launchers, and a low-cost micro-electronic inertial navigation system from the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit, Thiruvananthapuram.
- This is the third Indian RISAT in 10 years, and follows the Israeli-built RISAT-2 in 2009 and the ISRO-built RISAT-1 in 2012. The older RISATs have reached the end of their lives.
- ISRO has planned a series of radar imagers in the coming months to enhance its space based observation of Earth and the Indian region.
- Its X-band synthetic aperture radar can give added details such as the size of objects on earth, structures and movement.
- Information from RISAT-2B will complement data from normal optical remote sensing satellites.
- Such data are useful for agencies that need ground images during cloud, rain and in the dark.
- “The new satellite will enhance India’s all-weather [space-based] capabilities in
agriculture, forestry and disaster management,” ISRO said.
- Data from the satellite would be vital for the Armed Forces, agriculture forecasters and disaster relief agencies.
- ISRO chairman described RISAT-2B as “an advanced Earth Observation satellite with an
advanced technology of 3.6-metre radial rib [unfurlable] antenna”.