An Eye in the Sky

Southasia - - Briefing -

In­dia re­cently launched a long-range mis­sile, Agni- V, with a range of 5,000 km and ca­pa­ble of tar­get­ing Europe and most of Asia, thus join­ing an elite group of seven coun­tries with such ca­pa­bil­i­ties. A week later, it un­veiled and launched a space spy satel­lite that can mon­i­tor ac­tiv­i­ties on In­dian soil de­spite cloudy weather.

The re­sult of a ten-year long do­mes­tic ef­fort, Risat- 1 (Radar Imag­ing Satel­lite), as it is called, is the coun­try’s first mi­crowave re­mote sens­ing satel­lite. The 1858 kg space­craft was in­jected into or­bit by the Po­lar Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle, In­dia’s first ever rocket in­vented in the 1960s to re­duce de­pen­dence on for­eign in­vest­ment and sup­plies.

Risat-1 will mainly be used for agri­cul­ture pur­poses and dis­as­ter man­age­ment. Sci­en­tists say images from the satel­lite can help gauge the ex­tent of flood­ing, drought or even dam­age from a tsunami, within hours of a calamity oc­cur­ring. But the satel­lite, In­dia’s most ex­pen­sive at 4.98 bil­lion ru­pees (around US$95 mil­lion), can also be used for de­fense pur­poses or to track in­sur­gents in dense forests. In­dia now joins a select group of coun­tries in­clud­ing the US, Canada and coun­tries in Europe, with sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy.

The spy satel­lite, serves es­sen­tially as an “eye in the sky with 24/7 vis­i­bil­ity, day and night... [that] can pen­e­trate through cloud cover.” More than just a mon­i­tor for en­vi­ron­men­tal hazards, the satel­lite is of strate­gic im­por­tance on In­dia’s bor­ders with its neigh­bors.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.