Chennai: Tamil Nadu
will have special reason to cheer Thursday when an Indian rocket
puts Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-1) into orbit and the remote
sensing satellite starts performing, as a local woman is directing
the project for India's heaviest microwave satellite.
N.Valarmathi is the Risat-1 project director at the Indian space
agency's Satellite Centre in Bangalore.
"As the project director, she (Valarmathi) is responsible for the
delivery and the functioning of the satellite," an official of the
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS, requesting
Weighing 1,858 kg, the Risat-1 with a life span of five years
would be used for disaster prediction and agriculture forestry,
and its high resolution pictures and microwave imaging could also
be used for defence purposes.
The satellite's synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can acquire data at
C-band. In 2009, ISRO had launched 300-kg Risat-2 with an Israeli
built SAR enabling earth observation in all weather, day and night
Attempts by IANS to reach Valarmathi were not successful.
According to ISRO officials, she will be at the rocket launch
centre busy with the launch preparatory work and, therefore,
Incidentally. Valarmathi is the second woman to be the satellite
project director at ISRO but the first woman to head a remote
sensing satellite project.
T.K.Anuradha, who headed the communication satellite GSAT-12
programme, is the first women ever to be the satellite project
director at ISRO.
At the macro level, ISRO has three satellite programmes:
geo-stationary, remote sensing and small/experimental satellites.
The geo-stationary satellites are largely communication satellites
used for telecommunications, television broadcasting, internet and
Remote sensing or earth observation satellites send back pictures
and other data for use.
With 11 remote sensing/earth observation satellites orbiting in
space, India has the largest constellation of remote sensing
satellites in the world providing imagery in a variety of
resolutions from more than a metre ranging up to 500 metres. The
data makes India a major player in vending such data in the global
The 11 satellites are TES, Resourcesat 1, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A and
2B, IMS 1, Risat-2, Oceansat 2, Resourcesat-2, and Megha-Tropiques.