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Indian rocket carrying radar imaging satellite blasts off

An Indian rocket carrying a radar imaging satellite (Risat-1) blasted off early Thursday from the first launch pad at the spaceport here, around 80 km north of Chennai.

At exactly 5.47 a.m., the rocket - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C19 (PSLV-C19) - standing 44.5 metres tall and weighing 321 tons and holding a one way ticket hurtled itself towards the skies ferrying the 1,858 kg Risat-1.

Space scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) mission control room were glued to their computer screens watching the rocket as it escaped the earth's gravitational pull.

The ISRO-made Risat-1 is the heaviest luggage so far ferried by a PSLV since 1993.

The rocket is expected to deliver Risat-1 in a Polar Circular Orbit at an altitude of 480 km at an orbital inclination of 97.552 degrees.

The indigenous Risat-1, with a life-span of five years, would be used for disaster prediction and agriculture forestry and the high resolution pictures and microwave imaging could also be used for defence purposes as it can look through the clouds and fog.

Remote sensing satellites send back pictures and other data for use. India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world providing imagery in a variety of spatial resolutions, from more than a metre ranging up to 500 metres, and is a major player in vending such data in the global market.

With 11 remote sensing/earth observation satellites orbiting in the space, India is a world leader in the remote sensing data market. The 11 satellites are TES, Resourcesat-1, Cartosat-1, 2, 2A and 2B, IMS-1, Risat-2, Oceansat-2, Resourcesat-2 and Megha-Tropiques.

The satellite's synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can acquire data in C-band. In 2009, ISRO had launched 300 kg Risat-2 with an Israeli built SAR enabling earth observation in all weather, day and night conditions. 

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