ISRO's all-weather ‘spy satellite’ will help India watch its borders closely

ISRO's all-weather ‘spy satellite’ will help India watch its borders closely
PSLV-C48 with the RISAT-2BR1 poised to launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota tomorrowISRO
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is launching its RISAT-2BR1 satellite tomorrow.
  • The satellite will be equipped with a X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).
  • The radar’s primary applications are “defence intelligence” and “homeland defence”.
India will soon be able to protect its border better after its new ‘spy satellite’ — the RISAT-2BR1 — will be placed in orbit tomorrow.

The all-weather radar imaging satellite is capable of taking sharp images from outer space even when it’s cloudy on Earth. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) claims that the satellite’s primary applications are agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.

To be fair, that was the original intent of the RISAT series. But, after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the RISAT 2 launch was fast-tracked over the RISAT 1 satellite for only one reason — its X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

According to the manufacturer of the radar, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the sensor’s main application is “defence intelligence” and “homeland defence”.

The same radar will be used by RISAT-2BR1, except this time, India’s built it at home.


Keeping an eye on national borders

The X-Band SAR’s capabilities of the RISAT-2BR1 can click images regardless of the weather — or the time of the day — cutting through clouds and darkness.

Once it’s successfully placed in orbit, the satellite can send back high-resolution images focused on a specific area, or covering hundreds of kilometres. Combining electronic scans with mechanical manoeuvring, the satellite can be used to provide wide-area coverage without losing details.

It has been designed to monitor India’s borders and flag any infiltration or terrorist operations for the next five years.

ISRO plans to launch the satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota tomorrow. The RISAT-2BR1 will be launched along with nine international satellites marking the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s (PSLV) 50th launch.

The satellite weighs a little more than 600 kilograms and will be placed into orbit at a distance of 576 kilometers.

See also:
ISRO has its 'hands full' with 13 launches and the test of its new rocket before March

ISRO launches Cartosat-3 and 13 US satellites within 27 minutes

India wants to set up its own space station to carry out experiments in microgravity