Thursday, November 06, 2008

Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) could see through even cloudy sky

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a new satellite that could take images through the clouds, enabling space-based application in such scenarios to manage cyclones, floods and agriculture related activities.

India's current earth-observation satellites are working in visible and infrared bands, which means they can take pictures only when its cloud-free. "Often, during cyclones and floods the entire sky will be clouded. To see through the cloud, the new Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) will be important. In fact, we have got a tie-up with Canadian space agency... we are now using their satellite images to assess floods and other problems," ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair told PTI.

"Once our satellite (RISAT) is put into orbit, we will be able to use this for all purposes. And that will also help us in assessing the agriculture during monsoon season — how much sowing has been done and how much harvesting," Nair, who is also Secretary of Department of Space said in Bangalore.

According to ISRO officials, RISAT mission would have a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload, operating in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode.

SAR, an active sensor, operated in the microwave range of electromagnetic spectrum, provides the target parameters such as dielectric constant, roughness and geometry. With its unique capability for day-night imaging and in all weather conditions, including fog and haze, provides information on soil moisture.

SAR payload is based on an active phased array technology using Transmit/Receive (T/R) modules, which would provide necessary electronic agility for achieving the multi-mode capability, providing spatial resolutions of 3 to 50 m, and 10 to 240 km modes to cater to different applications.

Nair said the development of 1,780 kg spacecraft is more or less completed, and its "standing in the queue" for the launch.

Terming its launch as the "most important one" in the next one year, he said, "before the middle of next year, we want to make a flight."



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