ISRO gearing up for spy satellite launch Monday

April 16th, 2009 - 3:49 pm ICT by IANS  

ISRO Chennai, April 16 (IANS) India’s defence surveillance capabilities will get a quantum boost Monday with the launch of a sophisticated spy satellite that can see through fog and clouds, a facility that has been hitherto unavailable.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) workhorse polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) that will soar aloft from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, 80 km from here, with the radar imaging satellite (RISAT), will also put into orbit the Anusat, a micro educational satellite built by Anna University.

ISRO officials said the launch is slated between 6.30 and 7 a.m. The 230 tonne rocket will carry a weight of around 350 kg - the 300 kg RISAT and 50 kg Anusat.

According to officials, the rocket will sling RISAT at a distance of 560 km in a circular orbit and the 50 kg Anusat into low earth orbit.

“Everything is progressing smoothly. Currently checks are done on the integration of the stages of the rocket as well as the satellites. The countdown will start 48 hours before the actual launch,” an official said.

While ISRO officials termed RISAT an all weather satellite to be used for remote sensing purposes, the presence of a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) gives it defence capabilities.

None of ISRO’s other remote sensing satellites are equipped with the SAR.

ISRO is in the process of developing its own SAR that will be fitted on a much bigger satellite.

In January, ISRO had launched Israel’s TecSAR surveillance satellite from Sriharikota.

Anusat, said to be the first satellite built by an Indian educational institution, will carry out drought and wasteland monitoring, urban planning and other studies.

The launch will be PSLV’s 15 flight.

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