PSLV-C16 launched them on Wednesday; Resourcesat-1 still working

The three satellites put in orbit on Wednesday by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C16) are “absolutely fine,” officials of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Thursday.

The Resourcesat-2, the Youthsat and the X-Sat were in good health and working satisfactorily, they said.

The Resourcesat-2, an advanced remote-sensing satellite, will replace the Resourcesat-1, which was put in orbit in October 2003. The Resourcesat-2 has been fitted with three sophisticated cameras, and the first images of the earth are expected on April 28. Though the Resourcesat-1's life was five years, it was still sending pictures of the earth.

The images from the Resourcesat-2 will be useful in estimating the acreage of crops and the stress they are under, keeping a surveillance on pests, locating groundwater, identifying schools of fish in the sea, predicting the advance of glaciers, monitoring water bodies and keeping a watch on deforestation or changes in the rural and urban landscape.

They can also be used for estimating the salinity or acidic conditions of the soil owing to the excessive use of fertilizer, and for disaster management, mapping wetlands and categorising wasteland.

The Resourcesat-2 also carries a payload from Canada, which receives signals from ships and provides information about their location and speed. The estimated life of the satellite is five years, and its images will be used by more than 15 countries.

The Youthsat has three payloads — one from Moscow University and two from ISRO. Together, they will help in investigating the relationship between activities in the sun and the thermosphere-ionosphere above the earth. The X-Sat of the Nangyang Technological University of Singapore is an earth-viewing satellite.

The Resourcesat-2 is India's 18th remote-sensing satellite. A series of Indian Remote-sensing Satellites (IRS) have been put in orbit, beginning with IRS-1A in March 1988.

“The imaging systems in the IRS series have demonstrated India's technological leadership at the global level in observing the entire earth,” an ISRO official said.

The nine IRS in service now are the Technology Experiment Satellite, the Resourcesat-2, the Cartosat-1, 2, 2A and 2B, the Indian Mini Satellite-1, the Radar Imaging Satellite-2 and the Oceansat-2.

They make the IRS system the largest civilian remote-sensing satellite constellation in the world.