ISRO’s EMISAT spy satellite launch: How the ‘Make in India’ eye in the sky will help our armed forces

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New Delhi | Published: April 1, 2019 12:58:24 PM

EMISAT is a very powerful electronic intelligence/surveillance satellite which has been developed in India jointly by ISRO and Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

ISRO EMISAT was launched by ISRO. (ISRO twitter)

Proud moment for India as ISRO launches spy satellite EMISAT! Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Monday successfully launched an intelligence satellite EMISAT and 29 other commercial satellites to orbit onboard the polar rocket PSLV-C45 from the spaceport of Sriharikota. This is a first-of-its-kind mission for the space agency as it tried to put the satellites in three different orbits in one single satellite launch mission. Following the success of this mission, ISRO is eyeing orbital experiments, including on maritime satellite applications. ISRO’s main objective to launch EMISAT was to measure the electromagnetic spectrum and to read the location of radar emitters both ground and naval.

Key facts about ISRO EMISAT satellite launch

The 47th mission of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C45 took off 9.27 AM from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota with the satellites on board, and it took around 180 minutes for the overall flight sequence. The PSLV is a 4-stage engine expendable rocket. It alternate solid and liquid fuel.

The PSLV -C45 rocket has put EMISAT into an orbit 749 km from the Earth’s surface, and other satellites in orbit at an altitude of 505 km. Besides the EMISAT, the PSLV-C45 mission will also launch 28 other commercial satellites from the US, Lithuania, Spain and Switzerland for a wide range of uses, weighing about 220 kg, including earth observation, internet of things (IoT) satellites and navigation.

Sharing her views on today’s launch, Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation, said, “Today’s PSLV-C45 carrying Emisat and 28 foreign satellites is yet again a demonstration of India’s growing space prowess. The foreign satellites include a majority from the US, and the rest are from Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and goes to show India as an attractive destination when it comes to launching satellites. The global commercial space market is an expanding one and India’s advantage with the PSLV gives it an edge when it comes to launching these nanosatellites.” “Today’s launch is also significant for the Indian payload given the growing Indian defence requirements. Emisat is a reconnaissance intelligence satellite meant to keep a watch on and provide location inputs on enemy radar sites deep in the enemy territory, a function that was done by using electronic warfare planes until now,” she told Financial Express Online

What is EMISAT?

It is a very powerful electronic intelligence/surveillance satellite which has been developed in India jointly by ISRO and Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). This satellite is going to be used for intercepting signals not only on the ground and at high-resolution from space but also for the Indian Navy. EMISAT, weighing 436 kg, is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement and will be placed in an orbit of about 753 km altitude. It has been developed by DRDO (DLRL Hyderabad) under Project KAUTILYA.

ISRO is trying to put EMISAT in a high-elliptical orbit, which is expected to give the satellite enough time for picking up signals from a specific area on the ground and recording them. It has been developed for monitoring radar network by India. It is an ELINT satellite based on IMS2 Bus (Indian Mini Satellite Bus series) which can have a maximum launch weight of 450Kgs with a payload no more than 200kgs. It shares the same Bus architecture as the HySIS satellite which was launched in November last year. The satellite will be placed in an elliptical orbit so as to optimise the dwell time, for a required area under observation.

What is Project KAUTILYA?

The Defence Ministry’s annual report of 2013-14 mentioned about Project Kautilya — for Space Borne ELINT System which involves the development of Electronic Intelligence payload for integration on an indigenous minisatellite. The ELINT includes recordings and analysis of intercepted signals and helps create an RF signature of a radar which can, in turn, be used for locating and quickly identify the radar in subsequent encounters.

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