India is all set to launch a new “spy satellite” capable of keeping a lookout from space even in cloudy conditions, leaving no room for doubt the next time its armed forces conduct an operation such as the Balakot air strike earlier this year.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will use its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle to launch the 615-kg RISAT-2B satellite – capable of clear viewing during the day, night and even under adverse weather conditions – at 5:30 am on Wednesday. The special radar-enabled satellite will be placed at a low earth 557-kilometre orbit, a suitable level for detecting hostile installations as well as monitoring agriculture, forestry and possible disaster zones. The space agency is yet to release details or photographs of the satellite, considering that it is meant for strategic needs.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had sent Mirage 2000 fighter jets to strike a military training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan territory, on the morning of February 26. Some experts have speculated that heavy cloud cover at the time could have blinded Indian satellites, resulting in no images or videos of the operation being released so far. The lack of “proof” even spurred some opposition leaders to question the actual impact of the air strike.
Now, with a new set of radar-enabled satellites at its disposal, the space agency hopes to provide India’s armed forces with the ability to keep track of activities across its eastern and western borders….