The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched the RISAT-2BR1 radar reconnaissance satellite and nine commercial satellites abroad a PSLV rocket on Dec. 11.
During the mission designated as PSLV-C48, the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket lifted off at 1525 Hrs (IST) local time from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.
After 16 minutes and 27 seconds, RISAT-2BR1 was successfully injected into an orbit of 576 km. Subsequently, nine commercial satellites were injected into their intended orbits. After separation, solar arrays of RISAT-2BR1 were deployed automatically and the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.
The nine customer satellites of Israel, Italy, Japan, and the USA were also precisely injected into their designated orbits. These satellites were launched under a commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO.
“Today we achieved an important milestone in the history of PSLV by successfully launching its 50th mission” Chairman, ISRO, Dr. K. Sivan said. He noted that this versatile launcher has lifted off 52.7 tonnes into space, of which 17% belongs to customer satellites.
PSLV-C48 mission is the second flight of PSLV in the ‘QL’ configuration (with 4 solid strap-on motors). Besides being the 50th launch of PSLV, the launch was also the 75th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.
RISAT-2BR1 is a radar imaging earth observation satellite weighing about 628 kg and is equipped with an X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) with a 3.6-meter radial rib reflector mesh antenna. The satellite has a powerful 0.35m resolution, which means that two objects separated by 0.35m distance can be distinctly identified, and will cover a swath of 5 to 10 km.
According to an ISRO statement, the satellite will provide services in the field of agriculture, forestry and disaster management, but it is widely believed that RISAT is primarily designed for military surveillance. The mission life of RISAT-2BR1 is 5 years.