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Giving a big boost to its defence surveillance capabilities, India on Monday successfully launched an all-weather Israeli-built spy satellite that will help security agencies keep a vigil on the country's borders. The Indian Space Research Organisation's workhorse PSLV-C12 rocket soared majestically into a clear sky at 6.45 am from the spaceport in Sriharikota and placed its first Radar Imaging Satellite and micro-educational satellite ANUSAT into orbit about 19 minutes later.
The 300 kg RISAT-2 will primarily keep an eye on the country's borders round-the-clock and help in anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations. A jubilant ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said, "The year 2009 has started off well. The final moments of the launch were more thrilling than a cricket match as we hit a few boundaries and bowled some googlies."
Nair said the performance of the PSLV-C12 launch vehicle was 'precise and on the dot'. "Again, we have set a record. As in the past, we declared the launch date, time and we made it happen," he said.
Adding that the RISAT2 would be a good asset to national resources, he said, "I am sure it is going to serve the country well." India's newest eye in the sky has the capability to maintain vigil on the country's borders even at night and through clouds. The satellite, built with Israeli cooperation, enhances significantly India's capabilities in earth observation as it can track minute movements on land, sources said.
Till now, Indian satellites operated only in the visual range and RISAT-II, for the first time, uses microwave frequencies to track the earth. Though ISRO maintains that it will use the satellite for disaster management purposes and weather forecasts, the satellite imagery data can be made available to defence forces for securing the national borders.