India has launched two satellites into orbit this week, RISAT-2 and ANUSAT. Both were delivered by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). This launch designated PSLV-C12, was the 14th consecutive successive flight by this launch vehicle class from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), 90 km North of Chennai.
‘RISAT-2’ is a 300kg Israeli TECSAR type Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite developed and produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Elta. A similar Israeli satellite was launched from the same location last year. This satellite is believed to be the backup satellite produced in Israel, in case the first mission fails (lack of back-up spacecraft caused a serious gap in Israel’s intelligence gathering capability after failure of two missions Ofek-4 and Ofek-6). The SAR sensor provides an all-weather, day and night surveillance capability with a sub-meter resolution. The second satellite launched on the PSLV-C12 mission is an experimental, 40-kg micro satellite built by the Chennai-based Anna University. Both satellites were placed in an orbit of 550 km height from the earth with an inclination angle of 41 degrees to the equator.