The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scripted history by successfully launching earth observation satellite RISAT-2B that would enhance the country’s surveillance capabilities among others. ISRO’s trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) blasted off from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota on its 48th mission, carrying the 615 kg satellite. The RISAT-2B (Radar Imaging Satellite-2B), meant for application in fields such as surveillance, agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, was released into the orbit around 15 minutes after the lift-off. It would replace the RISAT-2, which was successfully launched in 2009.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan had earlier described the mission as a “very, very important” one for the country. The RISAT-2B is equipped with synthetic aperture radar that can take pictures of the earth during day and night, and also under cloudy conditions. With a mission life of five years, the satellite would also be used for military surveillance, ISRO sources said.
The RISAT-2 has been actively used by India to monitor activities in camps across the border in Pakistan to thwart infiltration bids by terrorists. The PSLV-C46 was the 14th flight of the PSLV in its core-alone configuration sans the use of the solid strap-on motors. It was the 72nd launch vehicle mission from Sriharikota and also marked the 36th launch from the first launch pad.
In 2019, ISRO launched PSLV-C45/EMISAT mission, which successfully injected the EMISAT and 29 international customer satellites into their orbits on April 1, and the PSLV-C44, which successfully placed the Microsat-R and the Kalamsat-V2 satellites in designated orbits on January 24.
ISRO had launched RISAT-1, a microwave remote sensing satellite, on April 26, 2012 from Sriharikota.