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RISAT-2B Satellite

  • 22 May 2019
  • 3 min read

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched an earth observation satellite, Radar Imaging Satellite-2B (RISAT-2B), which would enhance the country’s surveillance capabilities through Polar satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46).

Background

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) had sent Mirage 2000 fighter jets to strike a terror camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan territory, on the morning of 26th February, 2019. Some experts have speculated that heavy cloud cover at that time could have blinded Indian satellites, resulting in no images or videos of the operation being released so far. The country has high-resolution optical imaging CartoSAT satellites, but they get blinded by dense cloud cover.
    • When it is cloudy or dark, ‘regular’ remote-sensing or optical imaging satellites – which work like a light-dependent camera – cannot perceive hidden or surreptitious objects on the ground. Satellites that are equipped with an active sensor, the synthetic aperture radar (SAR), can sense or ‘observe’ Earth in a special way from space, day and night, rain or cloud.
  • Two previous radar-enabled satellites launched by India into space were RISAT-1 and RISAT-2, the latter being an acquisition from Israel.
    • These satellites helped security and intelligence agencies to plan surgical strike in 2016 on terror launchpads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and the Balakot aerial strike in February this year.
    • The first satellite in the RISAT series – RISAT-2 – was launched in 2009. The 300 kg satellite used an X-band synthetic aperture radar sensor made by Israel Aerospace Industries.
    • RISAT-1, an indigenously developed radar imaging satellite, was launched in 2012. The launch of RISAT-1 was postponed to prioritise the launch of RISAT-2 after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

About RISAT-2B Satellite

  • It is built to work for at least five years and would replace the RISAT-2 that has been in use for monitoring activities in camps in Pakistan and thwarting infiltration bids by terrorists from across the border.
  • This is the third Indian RISAT in ten years and has been placed at a low earth 557-kilometre orbit.
  • RISAT-2B’s X-band synthetic aperture radar can give details such as size of objects on Earth, structures, movement and change.
    • The information will complement data from the normal optical remote sensing satellites.
    • The data from this satellite are vital for the Armed Forces as well as agriculture forecasters and disaster relief agencies.
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