Science

ISRO Successfully Launches Spy Satellite RISAT-2BR1 On PSLV's Historic 50th Mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation on Wednesday successfully launched its radar imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1 onboard PLSV-C48. The space research organization also launched nine other foreign satellites through the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). According to the latest update by ISRO, the RISAT-2BR1 satellite has been successfully placed in orbit by PSLV-C48 minutes after taking off. Even the other 9 customer satellites were successfully placed in their designated orbits. It was the 50th flight of PSLV rocket and 75th rocket mission for the Sriharikota rocket port.

At about 3.25 p.m. the 44.4 meters tall, rocket broke free of the first launch pad and started its upward one-way journey carrying the 628 kg RISAT-2BR1 is an advanced radar imaging earth observation satellite. Placed in an orbit at an altitude of 576 kg the RISAT-2BR1 over its five-year life span can look through the clouds and take sharp pictures.

While ISRO says the satellite will be used for agriculture, forestry, and disaster management activities, it remains silent on RISAT-2BR1s strategic utility. The Indian space agency officials used to say that they would supply the required images for various agencies which in turn would use the same as per their needs.

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Mainly piggybacking on the Indian satellite sector were only nine foreign satellites from four different countries i.e. USA (earth imaging 1HOPSAT, technology demonstration Tyvak-0129, multi-mission Lemur-4 satellites,), Italy (search and rescue Tyvak-0092), Israel (remote sensing Duchifat-3),  and Japan (QPS-SAR - a radar imaging earth observation satellite) for an unknown fee contracted by NewSpace India Ltd, the new commercial arm of ISRO.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan and other scientists greeted each other as all 10 satellites were injected into the desired orbit. Later, speaking from the Mission Control Centre, Sivan said today's mission was a 'historic' one coinciding with PSLV's 50th flight.

"PSLV's payload capacity has increased from 860 kg to 1.9 tonnes and the versatile vehicle has carried 52.7 tonnes so far, 17 percent of which was customer satellites," he said.

The 628 kg satellite took off from Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh today at 3:25 pm. Just over 16 minutes into its flight, the rocket will sling RISAT-2BR1 and a minute later the first of the nine customer satellites were ejected. The launch mission was concluded in about 21 minutes when the last of the customer satellites will be put into orbit.
Till date, the ISRO has put into orbit 310 foreign satellites and with their mission if successful, then that number will go up to 319. The PSLV-QL is a four-stage/engine expendable rocket powered by solid and liquid fuels alternatively. The rocket has four strap-on booster motors to give additional thrust during the initial flight stages.