Sriharikota: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scripted history on Wednesday by successfully launching earth observation satellite RISAT-2B from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The 25-hour countdown for the PSLV launch started at 4.30 AM on Tuesday.
The agency’s trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) blasted off at 5.30 AM on its 48th mission, carrying the 615 kg satellite that would enhance the country’s surveillance capabilities among others.
The RISAT-2B (Radar Imaging Satellite-2B) was released into the orbit around 15 minutes after the lift-off. It is meant for application in fields such as surveillance, agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan had earlier described the mission as a “very, very important” one for the country.
The RISAT-2B would replace the RISAT-2, which was successfully launched in 2009. It is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar that can take pictures of the earth during day and night, and also under cloudy conditions.
According to ISRO sources, as quoted by PTI, the satellite would also be used for military surveillance.
With a mission life of five years, 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.
Wednesday’s launch of the PSLV also marked the third launch in 2019.
The other two were the PSLV-C45/EMISAT mission, which successfully injected the EMISAT and 29 international customer satellites into their orbits on April 1, and the PSLV-C44, which successfully placed the Microsat-R and the Kalamsat-V2 satellites in designated orbits on January 24.
ISRO had launched RISAT-1, a microwave remote sensing satellite, on April 26, 2012 from Sriharikota.
(Inputs from PTI)