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ISRO’s RISAT-2B to give India strategic advantage, new satellite to benefit security agencies

Huma Siddiqui

Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT-2B which was successfully placed into orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is part of India s well planned and rigorous effort to leverage space for military applications, with dual use capability. This is the third in the RISAT series — after RISAT-2 and RISAT-1.

According to ISRO RISAT-2B is an advanced Earth Observation satellite with an advanced technology of 3.6 metre radial rib antenna.

Sharing his views with Financial Express Online on Wednesday s launch, Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I expert says that, The sequence of multiple similar to RISAT-2B satellite launches are planned within this year in order to achieve coverage over various other sensitive regions like South China sea etc. With a life span of five years, this satellite launch programme is what India requires as an affordable solution for achieving meaningful surveillance over vast land and sea borders.

Kulshreshtha says that it uses an active X-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) imaging method to achieve an all-weather, day-and-night SAR observation capability for accurate military surveillance. This satellite is enhanced version of RISAT-2 developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel and was launched by ISRO in April 2009 and caters for multiple technological advancements of last one decade.

The circular polarization technique and advance tele-imaging capabilities onboard RISAT-2B helps to penetrate thick cloud covers and assist in fighter aircraft and ship/submarine navigation even in adverse weather conditions. All movements occurring in enemy region can now be detected and tracked accurately, including a troop build-up.

RISAT-2B operates at an orbit of 556 km, and is controlled from ISRO Telemetry Tracking base at Bengaluru. Though RISAT-2B is radar imaging earth observation 615Kg satellite intended to provide services for Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management, however, the high end surveillance capability of the satellite makes it more amenable for military purpose.

Today s launch was viewed by 5,000 visitors from the viewers gallery. The PSLV rocket is around 44.4 metres tall and weighing about 190 ton ferried the 615 kg RISAT-2B.

After the launch K Sivan, ISRO Chairman said: “With this mission, the PSLV rocket has crossed a landmark of lofting of 50 ton since it started flying and PSLV-C46 has successfully injected RISAT-2B in precise orbit.”

The rocket had a piggyback payload, the indigenously developed Vikram computer chip that will be used in future rockets. The chip was developed by Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL) Chandigarh and worked perfectly, he added.

So far the PSLV rocket has put into orbit 354 satellites, including those by India, foreign countries and students.

What is PSLV?

It is a four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.

In today s launch the 44.4 metre tall PSLV rocket that lifted off with RISAT-2B was the ‘core alone’ variant — without the strap-on motors.

Programmes of ISRO in 2019:

The next major mission of the Space Agency is Chandrayaan-2 scheduled for July 9 and expected to land on moon in September.

There will be the launch of a high-resolution cartography satellite and also the new rocket called the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

Keeping in mind the increased in requests for more eyes in the sky by security agencies, the Space agency will be building atleast half a dozen more satellites this year.

There will be a launch two more defence satellites on the SSLV.