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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs