labels: Indian Space Research Organisation, News reports
India to launch IAI-built spy satellite on 20 April news
08 April 2009

Bangalore: India will launch a spy satellite from Sriharikota spaceport on 20 April in an attempt to secure its borders round-the-clock. The satellite is also expected to help the government in anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations.

According to reports, the 300-kg radar-imaging satellite, equipped with the latest Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology, has been built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and will go into space as a payload on board the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C12 (PSLV).

This remote-sensing advanced imaging satellite, to be positioned 550 km above the earth, has all-weather capabilities and can peer through fog and cloud cover. This is thanks to its SAR payload, which allows the satellite to take images in day, night and all weather conditions.

This will be the first time that India will be deploying SAR technology. Its own series of remote sensing satellites do not have such capability. Reportedly, ISRO is developing its own version of such a satellite, which will be at least four times the size of this Israeli supplied one. 

ISRO's attempt to develop its own SAR technology is yet to fully mature.  It is expected t hat a 1200-kg Indian version of the Israeli SAR satellite will go aloft some time later in the year.

As for the current launch, the sensitive nature of the venture ensures that few details are available.

Unnamed senior ISRO officials have been quoted as saying that the satellite would be ''…primarily used for defence and surveillance. The satellite also has good application in the area of disaster management and in managing cyclones, floods and agriculture-related activities."

In a controversial move ISRO had launched the Israeli TecSAR surveillance satellite from Sriharikota in January last year. The launch had drawn a good deal of protest from countries such as Iran, as well as some domestic political opposition.

Impressed by TecSAR's day-and-night, all- weather capabilities, ISRO apparently asked the Israeli's to supply them with a similar model.

The PSLV-C12 will also carry the Anusat, a small satellite built by Chennai-based Anna University. The launch is expected to take place sometime between 6 am and 6.30 am on 20 April, officials said.

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India to launch IAI-built spy satellite on 20 April