India’s space agency successfully launched a new Earth-observation satellite today (May 21), boosting the nation’s space-based surveillance capabilities.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) used a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle designated PSLV-C46 to launch its third radar imaging satellite, named RISAT-2B, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.
The rocket lifted off at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT, or 5:30 a.m. local time on May 22) just as the sun began to rise over the Bay of Bengal.
Equipped with an X-band synthetic aperture radar, RISAT-2B will be able to look through the clouds to observe Earth’s surface day and night.
Imagery from RISAT-2B can be useful for civilian purposes like agriculture and disaster relief management, ISRO officials said in a description of the mission. But it will also be used for surveillance purposes.
RISAT-2B will watch over India’s borders and the country’s surrounding waters to monitor for foreign threats.