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India successfully launches radar-imaging satellite

posted 26 Apr 2012, 03:35 by Mpelembe   [ updated 26 Apr 2012, 03:36 ]

India successfully launches radar-imaging satellite RISAT-1 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in southern state of Andhra Pradesh that will help to forecast natural disasters and enable the planners to predict the agricultural production and allied trends.

SRIHARIKOTA, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA (APRIL 26, 2012) (ANI) -The scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched radar-imaging satellite RISAT-1 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in southern state of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday (April 26).

This exclusive satellite will help in forecasting natural disasters and enable the planners to predict the agricultural production and allied trends.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-19 blasted off carrying 1858 kilograms RISAT-1 designed and assembled by the team of scientists and engineers of ISRO.

It was placed into somewhere between 470 km-480 km orbit around earth.

Briefing the mediapersons, an elated K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of ISRO said that the launch was a great success and it has added to the their credentials as this is the country's first microwave remote sensing satellite.

"The PSLV-C 19 very precisely injected the RISAT-1 as indicated. We were targeting an orbit of 480 kilometres plus or minus 20 kilometres. Our initial data shows we have achieved an orbit with 470 to 480 kilometres and in the next three days that is 26, 27, 28 April, the orbit of the satellite would be ranged to 536 kilometres and then it would be in polar sun synchronous orbit," Radhakrishnan.

The remarkable launch was in four stages and at the time of news conference, it was mentioned that the last stage of image processing is take place as per the programmed schedule.

"After the injection of the satellite, two major operations are being conducted successfully. One is the deployment of the solar panels. Second one the synthetic aperture radar antenna has a large panel where also the transmitter C module is mounted. Each panel is about 300 kilograms. They have been deployed successfully. It was major activity and at the moment the satellite is pointing towards the earth," added Radhakrishnan.

The satellite RISAT-1 would be able to capture images of the earth round-the-clock including the occasions when the sky is cloudy and extremely overcast.

Radhakrishnan said that the satellite would prove to be an asset for the nation since the weather conditions prevalent in India could be predicted aptly in the shortest possible time.

"This is a radar imaging satellite and we call it acute microwave satellite. In a normal remote sensing satellites, which we have been launching they are in the optical regime. They use the illumination coming from the sun and then they measure the reflections but when you have clouds you will not be able to take pictures using those satellites and in a country like India, you have lot of areas which are perennially cloudy and many other places where you want to take a picture and clouds come as an obstruction. In this acute microwave remote sensing what we do is we send a pulse from the satellite signal and look at the return. If you analyse you can get the characteristics of the particular object you are looking at," said Radhakrishnan.

Further he noted that till now, Indian scientists were dependant on a Canadian satellite that often failed to provide images during cloud cover.

However, now with the launch of RISAT-1, it will be a new and indigenous mode, he noted.

"This RISAT-1 data, what we have launched today, will be just replacing or substituting that Canadian satellite data for agricultural crop forecast and what we do one month before the harvest using a model, they forecast likely production so that decisions can be made, this is one application. If you look at the country from June to almost November, you have several areas which are perennially flood affected, whether it is Bihar or Brahmaputra region, even other parts of the country and when you have floods you would also have clouds, so, you would not know the flood inundated area. So, what we are using at the moment, we have programmed the radar such as to get those pictures; it takes time for them to programme and do it. It takes four-five days for us to get it but today you have an ability to view that immediately within few hours we get the flood inundates areas," observed Radhakrishnan.

The satellite would be significantly used during the Kharif season when the climate remains mostly overcast.

Images taken from the spacecraft of agricultural crops would help agronomists to counsel farmers as well as enable planners to estimate overall production well in advance.

During floods, it would help in getting a clear view of the affected region and also the water level.