Earth Observation Satellite RISAT-2B
Radar Imaging Satellite 2B (RISAT-2B) is an indigenously developed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Imaging Satellite operating in the X-band. It was developed by ISRO and launched on 22 May 2019. It weighs around 615 Kg and utilised PSLV-C46 as the launch vehicle, which was 48th flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and a core alone flight (without strap-on boosters).
In the past decade, ISRO has launched two satellites in the RISAT series, beginning in 2009 with the Israeli-built RISAT 2, and the second one, RISAT 1, in 2012. The RISAT 1 is no longer operational. According to the space agency, it will launch 4-5 more such satellites in 2019 to form a constellation and substantially increase the country’s capabilities.
Significance of RISAT-2B
- High Resolution: The highly agile satellite is capable of operating in different modes including Very High Resolution RADAR imaging modes of 1m x 0.5m resolution and 0.5m x 0.3m resolution.
- Inclined Orbit: Its orbit, which is inclined 37 degrees to the equator, won’t enable global surveillance. Rather, the satellite’s gaze will be fixed on India and Pakistan.
- All-weather Operation: As RISAT-2B is a Radar Imaging satellite; it can be operated effectively during day / night / all weather conditions. The imageries can be collected during rains and despite dust, clouds or darkness and during all seasons, thus ensuring continuous and reliable data as compared to remote sensing satellites.
RISAT-2BR1 Successfully Launched by ISRO
- On 11th December, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully launched RISAT-2BR1 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.It also carried nine commercial satellites; six from the USA and one each from Israel, Italy and Japan. These international customer satellites were launched under a commercial arrangement with New Space India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- The launch also marks multiple milestones: It was PSLV’s 50th mission (PSLV-C48), 75th launch vehicle mission from SDSC and 2nd flight of PSLV in ‘QL’ configuration (with 4 solid strap-on motors).
- Designed and developed by ISRO, RISAT-2BR1 is second satellite in the RISAT-2B series.
- It is a 24-hour, all-weather radar imaging earth observation satellite.
- Weighing about 628 kg, the satellite has a powerful 0.35m resolution (two objects which are 35 cm apart can be distinctly identified) and will cover an area of 5 to 10 km.
- It has been placed in a 576 km mean altitude low earth orbit (LEO) at an inclination of 37 degrees.
- RISAT-2BR1 has a mission life of 5 years and is equipped with X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) with radial rib reflector 3.6m mesh antenna.
Applications of RISAT-2B
- Spot Imaging: The Satellite will be used for high resolution spot imaging of locations of interest.
- Policy and Planning: Data from RISAT-2B will also be utilized for data driven policy making and planning.
- Remote Sensing: Applications of X-Band SAR imagery include Hydrology, Crops, Forestry, Geosciences and Cryosphere.
- Disaster Management Support: During the time of exigencies, very high resolution, day/night/all-weather imaging capabilities of RISAT-2B could be utilized for Disaster Management Support.
- Surveillance and Security: All-weather imaging capabilities of RISAT-2B could be utilized for border management and counter insurgency applications. For example, it will be able to provide views of terror camps in the Kashmir region, which has long been the subject of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.