Indian space agency ISRO, today, scripted history by successfully launching earth observation satellite RISAT-2B that would enhance the country’s surveillance capabilities among others.
As the 25-hour countdown which began Tuesday concluded, the agency’s trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) blasted off at 5.30 am from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here on its 48th mission, carrying the 615 kg satellite.
The RISAT-2B (Radar Imaging Satellite-2B), meant for application in fields such as surveillance, agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, was released into the orbit around 15 minutes after the lift-off.
It would replace the RISAT-2, which was successfully launched in 2009. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan had earlier described the mission as a “very, very important” one for the country.
“This is a very, very important mission for India. It is an excellent satellite with hi-fi earth observation (capabilities),” he had said. 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.
With a mission life of five years, the satellite would also be used for military surveillance. The RISAT-2 has been actively used by India to monitor activities in camps across the border in Pakistan to thwart infiltration bids by terrorists.
The PSLV-C46 was the 14th flight of the PSLV in its core-alone configuration sans the use of the solid strap-on motors. It was the 72nd launch vehicle mission from Sriharikota and also marked the 36th launch from the first launch pad.