India ready with all-weather imaging satellite: ISRO
India currently depends on images from a Canadian satellite as domestic remote sensing spacecraft cannot take pictures of the ground during cloud cover. After nearly 10 years of effort, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed — with a lot of participation from Indian industries — a microwave satellite that has the unique capability of imaging during day and night and in all weather conditions, it said.
"This (Radar Imaging Satellite or RISAT-1) is about 1,850 kg. So, this will be heaviest satellite lifted by a PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan told PTI here. "It`s most likely to be launched on April 26 at 5.45 am," he said. "It has taken about 10 years of efforts in developing this (RISAT-1)".
The approved cost of RISAT-1, including its development, is Rs 378 crore, while Rs 120 crore has been spent to build the rocket (PSLV-C19), making it a Rs 498-crore mission. RISAT-1 is a "complex satellite", Radhakrishnan said. The satellite would be particularly useful in Kharif season when cloud-covered atmosphere is frequent. Images taken from the spacecraft of agricultural crops would enable planners with regard to production estimation and forecast, the space agency said.
During floods, aerial pictures would give a clear idea on the affected region and water level. In addition, this satellite can even "penetrate" the ground and throw light on soil moisture up to a few centimeters, Radhakrishnan said. RISAT-1 would be launched into a 536-km orbit by PSLV, which is India`s workhorse rocket.
The satellite carries a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload, operating in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode to provide images with coarse, fine and high spatial resolutions. Radhakrishnan said ISRO had built two SARs in the past but these had been flown on aircraft.