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India launches surveillance satellite


The PSLV C 12 on the launchpad. Image Credit: ISRO

SRIHARIKOTA (PTI): Giving a big boost to its defence surveillance capabilities, India today successfully launched an all-weather Israeli-built spy satellite that will help security agencies keep a vigil on the country's borders.

Indian space agency ISRO's workhorse, PSLV-C12 rocket soared majestically into a clear sky at 0645 hours from the spaecport here and placed its first Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT 2) and micro-educational satellite ANUSAT into orbit about 19 minutes later in a textbook launch.

The spacecraft carried a 300-kg Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-2) and 40-kg micro educational satellite ANUSAT. The RISAT-2 will primarily keep an eye on the country's borders round-the-clock and help in anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations.

A jubilant ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said, “The year 2009 has started off well. The final moments of the launch were more thrilling than a cricket match as we hit a few boundaries and bowled some googlies.” About the performance of the PSLV-C12 launch vehicle, he said it was “precise and on the dot”.

“Again, we have set a record. As in the past, we declared the launch date, time and we made it happen.” He said RISAT2 would be a good asset to national resources. “I am sure it is going to serve the country well.”

RISAT2 has all-weather capabilities to take images of Earth and would also be beneficial in mapping and managing natural disasters, such as floods and landslides. It would also help keep track of ships at sea that could pose a threat.

As per specifications, RISAT is different from previous remote sensing satellites as it uses Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), equipped with many antennas to receive signals that are processed into high-resolution pictures.

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