This week, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch its radar imaging satellite RISAT-1 on board the organisation’s workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
Early on April 26 morning, RISAT-1, a microwave remote sensing satellite carrying a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), will be launched into space. RISAT-1 weighs around 1858 kg — the heaviest satellite to be lifted by the PSLV thus far — and is scheduled to be put into a 536 km orbit, according the ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan. It’s life span is five years.
The 71-hour countdown for the launch of started this morning at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
India currently depends on images from a Canadian satellite as its domestic remote sensing spacecraft can’t take pictures of the ground during cloud cover. RISAT-1 being launched at a mission cost of Rs. 498 crore will operate in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode to provide images with coarse, fine and high spatial resolutions. Pictures beamed from RISAT-1 would be used to estimate crop yield, assess acreage and predict crop health during monsoons, when the sky is covered with clouds. The images can also be used for disaster management during cyclones and floods.
ISRO had launched RISAT-2 in 2009 with an all weather capability to take images of the earth. The satellite was aimed to enhance ISRO’s capability for disaster management applications.
Post updated on April 26:
PSLV-C19 was launched into space from Sriharikota early this morning (April 26, 2012) putting RISAT-1 in a polar circular orbit. It was a successful lift-off, according to ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan.
RISAT-1 will start beaming images in five days.
Notably, PSLV C-19 is the third in this series of launch vehicles to involve the high-end version PSLV-XL (XL meaning extra large). It is equipped with six extended strap-on motors, each carrying 12 tonnes of solid propellant. ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 was also launched on board a PSLV-XL.