Top facts about RISAT-1, India’s own ‘spy satellite’

  • India successfully launched its own ‘spy satellite’ RISAT-1 (Radar Imaging Satellite). It was powered by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C19) from Sriharikota at 5.47 on April 26, 2012.
  • Weighing at 1858 Kg, RISAT-1 is the heaviest satellite ever launched by India.
  • It was powered by a 321 tonne rocket, the most powerful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
  • This is the third time that ISRO used a PSLV-XL (Extra Large) rocket. It was first used in October 2008 to put Chandrayaan-1 in orbit and again in July 2011 during the communication satellite GSAT-12 launch.
  • The indigenously made satellite has day and night viewing capacity and will not be blinded by cloud cover.
  • RISAT-1 will help in crop monitoring and flood forecasting. It will give India the ability for continuous surveillance.
  • 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. It has a best resolution of up to 1 m
  • It has taken ISRO 10 years to make this sophisticated satellite. So far PSLV has consecutive 19 successful launches.
  • The total cost of mission is about Rs. 500 crores. While the cost of the rocket is about Rs. 120 crores, the satellite costs around Rs. 380 crores. However, none of them are insured.
  • The project Director N Valarmathi, is the first woman to head a remote sensing satellite project, and the second to be the satellite project director at ISRO.
  • Apart from RISAT-1, India already has another spy satellite RISAT-2 acquired from Israel which was launched in 2009. 

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