The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced the successful launch into orbit of RISAT-1, the country's first indigenous all-weather radar imaging satellite, from the launch vehicle PSLV-C19 early this morning from ISRO's Sriharikota launch pad.
The 1,858 kg microwave remote sensing satellite was injected into orbit by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle about 19 minutes after a perfect lift off at 5.47am at the end of a 71-hour countdown from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, around 90 km from Chennai.
The PSLV launch vehicle, ISRO's workhorse, yet again proved its reliability, completing its 20th successful flight in a row. Moreover, RISAT-1 is the heaviest satellite it has ever lifted.
The new satellite will boost India's remote sensing capabilities and facilitate agriculture and disaster management, ISRO said. Unstated was the fact that RISAT-I also has 'spy satellite' capabilities.
The culmination of nearly 10 years of effort by ISRO, RISAT-1 can take images of the earth during day and night as well as in cloudy conditions. So far India depends on images from a Canadian satellite for pictures of earth amid cloud cover.
Lifting off in the backdrop of a crimson dawn, the 44-metre rocket soared into the sky in a mission described as ''a grand success'' by ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan.