News

India Successfully Launches 'All-Weather' Surveillance Satellite

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C-19 blasts off, carrying the country's first radar imaging satellite RISAT-1 from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, India, April 26, 2012.
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C-19 blasts off, carrying the country's first radar imaging satellite RISAT-1 from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, India, April 26, 2012.
Kurt Achin

India has successfully launched a satellite that experts say will dramatically boost the country's ability to view detailed images of the earth.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Indian aerospace engineers Thursday after a rocket successfully lifted an advanced imaging satellite weighing nearly 2,000 kilograms into orbit.

K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, describes the launch as a victory for India.

"Our initial data shows we have achieved an orbit with 470 to 480 kilometers," said Radhakrishnan.

The satellite is called RISAT-1, which stands for "radar imaging satellite." Unlike previous imaging satellites launched by India, which collect a picture of the ground using optical cameras, RISAT 1 bounces microwave signals off the Earth.

Dr. Ajay Lele, a researcher at New Delhi's Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, says the satellite sensor will be able to obtain clear images no matter what is happening below.

"This sensor gives you an opportunity to see towards the earth in all sorts of weather conditions, and night time and morning time and day time hardly has got any impact as far as the sensor is concerned," said Lele.

Such all-weather capability is significant in India, which experiences an annual monsoon season during which heavy cloud cover can impair the usefulness of optical satellite imagery.

"Previously we used to have only the cloud picture, just image alone. This gives additional parameters. All will be used for our weather forecast for the coming years," said T. K. Alex, director at the Indian Space Research Organization.

In addition to images, RISAT-1 is capable of gathering data on cloud temperature, cloud speed, and the level of air humidity.

Lele, with the Institute for Defense Studies, said the satellite will have various uses for the Indian government.

"It has got relevance for climate change, disaster management, flood relief, agriculture, too. It will have a certain amount of relevance in the strategic sector, too, because it will allow us to monitor the troop movements or infiltration, terrorist organizations, which are operating from deeply forested areas, and other stuff," said Lele.

RISAT-1 has an expected mission life of five years, making 14 orbits a day. The launch is likely to create economic benefits for India, generating interest among other nations who seek data or technological assistance, or want to commission India to launch a satellite on their behalf.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs