India launches top secret spy satellite into orbit along with cubesat swarm (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

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India launches top secret spy satellite into orbit along with cubesat swarm (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched its next generation electronic surveillance satellite into orbit, along with a swarm of 28 private industry microsats.

The four-stage rocket was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 9:27am local time with its military and commercial payload.

The 436-kilogram (961-pound) EMISAT system will provide electronic intelligence to India’s Armed Forces using a first-of-its-kind electromagnetic spectrum measuring device that has been in development for at least the past five years by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The sophisticated device is among India’s most highly-classified and closely-guarded projects and will allow the Indian armed forces to detect enemy radar installations.

The EMISAT will maintain a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of 749 kilometers, while the various commercial cubesats broke away to find their own predesignated orbits at various altitudes.

At least 20 of the small devices belong to US company Planet Labs and will form part of its Earth imaging constellation, which boasts a resolution that can distinguish three-meter distances at ground level back on Earth.

The remainder of the cubesats belong to companies from the US, Switzerland, Lithuania and Spain.




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The launch comes just five days after India’s successful test of the ASAT anti-satellite weapon, becoming the fourth nation in the world to demonstrate such capabilities.

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