We have no knowldedge about military purpose: ISRO chief

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Chennai, Jan 21 (UNI) Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair today denied any knowledge whether the Israeli satellite it had launched today was a 'spy satellite' and dismissed reports that United States had pressed India not to launch it.

Addressing a press conference here after the successful launch of the satellite 'TECSAR', also called 'Polaris,' from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota near here at 0915 hrs, Mr Nair said, ''I have no knowledge to this affect. I have seen the satellite only from outside.'' Denying that the launch was delayed due to any such pressure, Mr Nair said, ''we had to carry out many technical details as some doubts arose. By the time we completed the preparation, the monsoon arrived and even early this month there were heavy rains.

Now we have launched it in earliest time available.' He said as per the contractual obligation this was not revealed by the Israeli authorities. He also observed that there was no pressure from any Gulf country or anyody. ''No, to my knowledge there is no military purpose behind the launch.'' ''It is for radar imaging through the clouds. It is a unique instrument,'' Mr Nair said.

Answering another question whether there was any agreement with Israel to share data and other relevant information obtained from the satellite, he said, ''no, there is no such agreement.'' He said as per the contract, the ''satellite was only a passenger'' on the PSLV launch vehicle. ''We have delivered the satellite and the data is not shared with us,'' he said emphatically.

The Isreali ground station has received signals from the satellite and it's ''health is good,'' he said.

Mr Nair said 'Antrix,' the commercial arm of ISRO had won the contract against stiff competition from world leaders, including Russia, who were among the bidders.

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