A new spy satellite has been launched by India, which is capable of keeping a lookout from space even in cloudy conditions.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) used its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle to launch the 615-kg RISAT-2B satellite – capable of clear viewing during the day, night and even under adverse weather conditions.
The new satellite is a special radar enabled, which is expected to be placed at a low earth 557-kilometre orbit, a suitable level for detecting hostile installations as well as monitoring agriculture, forestry and possible disaster zones.
Now, with a new set of radar-enabled satellites at its disposal, the space agency hopes to provide India’s armed forces with the ability to keep track of activities across its eastern and western borders. Although the country also has high-resolution optical imaging CartoSAT satellites, they get blinded by dense cloud cover. Moreover, their imaging resolution was possibly not good enough to make an accurate damage assessment after the IAF strike in Balakot.
The RISAT-2B, a satellite created at the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad, is equipped with a special X-band radar capable of providing much better images. This is the first time India is launching indigenous technology of the kind into space.
The RISAT-2B has a mission life of five years, and if all goes well, two clones (RISAT-BR1 and RISAT-2BR2) will be launched in the coming months. Some of these launches have been advanced by as many as 18 months.