71-Hour Countdown Commences for Satellite RISAT 1
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The 71-hour countdown for the launch of 1,858 kg RISAT -1, India's radar imaging satellite, the heaviest one to be lifted by ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle commenced this morning.

"The countdown for radar sensing satellite RISAT-1 started this morning at 6.47 AM at Sriharikota. This is a 71- hour long countdown," an ISRO spokesman told PTI.

The launch is scheduled at 5.47 AM on April 26 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

India currently depends on images from a Canadian satellite as domestic remote sensing spacecraft cannot take pictures of the ground during cloud cover.

"This (Radar Imaging Satellite or RISAT-1) is about 1,850 kg. So this will be heaviest satellite lifted by a PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan had earlier said.

The approved cost of RISAT-1, including its development, is Rs 378 crore, while Rs 120 crore has been spent to build the rocket (PSLV-C19), making it a Rs 498-crore mission.

RISAT-1 will be launched into a 536-km orbit by PSLV, India's workhorse rocket.

The satellite carries a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload, operating in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode to provide images with coarse, fine and high spatial resolutions.

ISRO said mandatory checks on the launch vehicle and spacecraft would be carried out before lift-off on April 26.

"During the countdown, propellant-filling operations of the liquid propellant second stage (PS2) and fourth stage (PS4) of the launch vehicle will be carried out. Besides, mandatory checks on the launch vehicle and spacecraft will be carried out," an ISRO statement said.

Three days prior to lift-off, charging of batteries and pressurisation of propellant tanks would be performed and readiness of various ground systems like tracking radar systems and communication networks will be checked, ISRO said.

PSLV-C19, scheduled to be launched on April 26 at 5.47 AM from Sriharikota, would put RISAT-1 at an altitude of 536 km.
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