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Successful Launch of Earth Observation Satellite RISAT 2B

What is RISAT 2B?

1. Recently, Indian space agency ISRO successfully launched the earth observation satellite RISAT-2B.

2. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) blasted off from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on its 48th mission, carrying the 615 kg satellite in the designated orbit of 555 km.

3. It would replace the Israeli built RISAT-2, which was successfully launched in 2009 post Mumbai terror attacks.

4. ISRO had launched RISAT-1, a microwave remote sensing satellite, on April 26, 2012 from Sriharikota.

5. Four years into its planned five-year life span, RISAT-1 was hit by orbital debris and was declared non-operational shortly thereafter.

Why is this satellite special?

1. It is a remote sensing satellite with a difference.

2. Remote sensing satellites image the ground in visible light but RISAT-2B will be imaging the ground in micro ways (radar frequencies).

3.  It has a radial rib antenna. It will be able to see through clouds (including night) providing high quality radar images.

4. This will help to keep a watch on Indian mainland almost round the clock as it is equipped with X-band synthetic aperture radar.

5. The X-band synthetic aperture radar can also provide added details such as size of objects on earth, structures, movement and change, which complements the data that is being gathered through the normal optical remote-sensing satellites.

6. It was the 72nd launch vehicle mission from Sriharikota.

7. PSLV-C46 carried two important piggyback payloads, an indigenously developed processor (Vikram) and a low-cost MEMS based Inertial Navigation System.

How is it beneficial for India?

1. It will act as a surveillance satellite for Indian armed forces as it is an all-weather day and night viewing satellite.

2. It will watch over India's borders and the country's surrounding waters to monitor for foreign threats such as activities of terror camps.

3. The RISAT-2B (Radar Imaging Satellite-2B) will also be helpful in fields such as surveillance, agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.

Which are the future projects of ISRO?

1. ISRO is gearing up for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 onboard GSLV Mk III during July 9-16, with an expected moon landing on September 6, 2019.

2. ISRO would look at launching the very high-resolution CARTOSAT 3 satellite post Chandrayaan-2.

3. Cost effective small satellite launch vehicle developments can be expected.

Hence, RISAT-2B is an improvement over the remote sensing satellites in natural resources observation and management.