Bangalore: India successfully launched a surveillance satellite, built jointly with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said.
Eye in the sky: A polar satellite launch vehicle rocket taking off with RISAT-2. AP
The 300kg radar imaging satellite, RISAT-2, and a communications satellite built by an Indian university were launched from Andhra Pradesh at 6.45am on Monday, Isro said in a statement on its website. RISAT-2 has a lifespan of three years and will help monitor floods, cyclones and management of disasters, S. Satish, spokesman for the space agency, said in a phone interview.
It can also be used to monitor infiltration across the borders and can take pictures of small objects on earth, Rodham Narasimha, a professor at the Bangalore-based National Institute of Advanced Studies, said over the phone.
India had wanted to develop such a satellite without any outside help, delaying the project, Narasimha said.
The country’s space scientists are now planning their next moon odyssey, ‘Chandrayaan-2’, a mission that will see a soft landing of small rovers on the surface of earth’s natural satellite.
“We are finalizing the instruments to be carried in the rovers. The work is on... It will be launched by 2011-end or during the beginning of 2012”, director of Isro Satellite Centre T.K. Alex told reporters in Sriharikota.
‘Chandrayaan-1’ completed six months in orbit on Sunday and is doing well, sending data from scientific instruments on board the spacecraft, Isro officials said. “We are making routine manoeuvres to ensure that the spacecraft is kept 100km from the moon,” a scientist said.
Isro chairman G. Madhavan Nair said the success of ‘Chandrayaan-1’ has ignited the minds of young people. “When Isro advertised for filling up of 300 posts, we received a whopping 132,000 applications.”
(‘PTI’ contributed to this story.)