India will upgrade its reconnaissance capabilities through the launch of a RISAT-2B radar imaging satellite Wednesday. Liftoff from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre aboard a PSLV rocket is scheduled for 05:30 local time (00:00 UTC), with the launch expected to last fifteen and a half minutes from liftoff to spacecraft separation.
The satellite launching on Wednesday is the first in a fleet of RISAT-2B satellites that will succeed India’s ten-year-old RISAT-2 spacecraft. Equipped with X-band radar imagers, RISAT-2B will monitor the Earth day and night, in any weather conditions. Two or three RISAT-2B spacecraft are expected to launch this year, while another satellite, the larger RISAT-2A, will join the constellation in 2020.
The RISAT constellation is operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). While ISRO state the satellites’ applications as supporting agriculture, forestry and disaster management, their primary purpose is military surveillance.
RISAT uses a technique called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to build images of the Earth below it. Signals transmitted from the satellite are reflected from the surface and its echo is recorded when it reaches back to the satellite. These signals can then be processed to build a profile of the ground below.
Radar imaging is important ...