ISRO launches RISAT-2B spy satellite. Photo: ISRO

Indian Space Research Organization today successfully launched an earth observation spy satellite that can take high resolution images under adverse weather conditions as well.

The RISAT-2B (Radar Imaging Satellite-2B) will enhance India’s surveillance capabilities. It is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar that can help in imaging during both day and night. ISRO used its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle to launch the 615-kg satellite.

ISRO chief Dr K Sivan called the launch of RISAT-2B a “fantastic mission.” The home-grown space agency has sent 354 satellites into orbit and crossed a landmark of lifting a total of over 50 metric tons of material into the space.

Dr Sivan announced that RISAT-2B has “special imaging capabilities to take strips of images and mosaics of images.” The launch also saw the first use of a made-in-India Vikram Processor from the semiconductor complex at Chandigarh.

With radar-enabled satellites, ISRO hopes that the Armed Forces can keep track of activities across borders. Although the country also has high-resolution optical imaging CartoSAT satellites, they get blinded by dense cloud cover. Moreover, their imaging resolution may not have been good enough to make an accurate damage assessment after the Indian Airforce strike in Balakot, NDTV reported. The launch of RISAT-2B, is intended to dispel such concerns in future military operations.

In 2009 and 2012, India had launched RISAT-2 and RISAT-1 satellites. They helped security and intelligence agencies carry out a surgical strike in 2016 on terror launchpads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and, in February this year, the Balakot aerial strike, The Economic Times reported.

Apart from defense purposes, radar imaging satellites are also used for agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.

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