India puts Risat-1 in orbit

India’s first indigenous all-weather Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-1) was injected into orbit with textbook precision in yet another successful launch by the country’s reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C19, a few minutes before dawn, at 5.47 am, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Shar in Sriharikota located in SPSR Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.
The launch was a spectacular sight. The PSLV took off majestically into clear skies, the orange flames streaming from its tail leaving behind a trail of smoke.
The new state-of-the-art Mission Control Centre was used for the first time to launch the 1,858-kg microwave sensing satellite, Risat-1. The first microwave sensing satellite developed in the country, it puts an end to India’s dependence on a Canadian satellite for pictures of earth during cloudy conditions.
Scientists in the Mission Control Room, residents of Shar and members of the press cheered when the launch vehicle ascended into the sky as programmed after a 71-hour-long countdown process.
The satellite carries a C-band (5.35 GHz) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload that enables applications in agriculture, particularly paddy monitoring in the kharif season and management of natural disasters like floods and cyclone.
It operates in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode to provide images with coarse, fine, and high spatial resolutions. The data will be useful to estimate agriculture production and forecast.
A beaming Dr K. Radhakrishnan, Isro chairman, announced that the PSLV C-19 mission has been a grand success and the satellite was placed in the desired orbit. Speaking to media persons, he said that the mission cost was `488 crores with `378 crores spent for Risat-1 and `110 crores for PSLV-C19.
He said that the solar panel of the satellite and the antenna of the Synthetic Aperture Radar were successfully deployed. The satellite will be placed in an initial orbit of 480 km, and will be pushed to its final orbit of 536 km in the next three days. It will orbit around the earth 14 times a day during its mission life of five years.

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