ISRO looks at ‘lucky’ Apr 20 for 1st radar imaging sat launch

After its launch was put off apparently due to ISRO row,India’s indigenously designed and developed all-weather satellite that has the unique capability of imaging during day and night may be launched on April 20,a “lucky” day for the space agency

Written by Press Trust Of India | Bangalore | Published:April 2, 2012 2:20 am

After its launch was put off apparently due to ISRO row,India’s indigenously designed and developed all-weather satellite that has the unique capability of imaging during day and night may be launched on April 20,a “lucky” day for the space agency.

As preparations were underway for the blast-off from India’s spaceport of Sriharikota,ISRO is looking at ‘lucky April 20’.

RISAT-1,a Radar Imaging Satellite with the capability to take images of the earth during day and night as well as in cloudy conditions,is a first of its kind developed by India and has already reached the spaceport after being transported from here.

India had launched RISAT-2,which it bought from Israel for US$110 million,on April 20,2009,and Resourcesat-2 mission took place on the same day last year. Both were successful ventures.

“April 20 is a lucky day for us,” an ISRO official told PTI here. After back-to-back failures of GSLV — one with Russian engine and the other with homegrown one — this statement did not come as a surprise.

RISAT-1,weighing around 1850 kg,is slated for launch by ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C19 (XL)) into a 536 km orbit.The launch of the spacecraft,the country’s first microwave remote sensing satellite,was put off by at least a couple of months following the ISRO row,the fallout of the punitive action against four former space scientists for their role in the Antrix-Devas deal,that delayed the preparations.

RISAT-2 with all weather capability and ability to penetrate through clouds was realised in association with Israel Aerospace Industries. RISAT-2,primarily a spy satellite,is being used solely for Defence applications,keeping an eye on the borders and the country’s neighbourhood.

“This satellite (RISAT-2) can sharply focus on metallic objects,” another ISRO official said.

“The RISAT-1 will be useful for monitoring of agriculture and water resources management,among other applications,” said the official,who added that this satellite would not be used for defence applications as RISAT-2 is already doing that job.

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