The Story Behind the Remote Sensing Satellite Network of India

IRS-1A, the first innovative remote sensing satellite, was launched into a sun-synchronous orbit in 1988 from the Soviet Cosmodrome located at Baikonur.

The successful IRS-1A launch was considered one of the proudest moments for the country. It showed the maturity of the satellite to overcome requirements for the nation’s natural resource management. It had LISS-1 with a 72.5 spatial resolution and 148 km swatch on the ground. It also had LISS-II with detached imaging sensors. LISS-II A, as well as LISS-II B, had 36.25 meters special resolution. Each was mounted on the spacecraft in order to offer a swath of 146.98 km.

IRS-1A, together with LISS-I and LISS-II sensors enabled India to map, observe and handle all its natural resources at spatial resolutions. Its operational availability has strengthened and fostered the operationalization of such applications in different parts of the country.

After an incredible launch of IRS-1A, it was followed by IRS-1B in 1991, which was an identical satellite. Both offered repetivity for 11 days and have been great workhorses for generating enough natural resources data in agriculture, geology, hydrology, and other areas.

Since then, there have been series of IRS spacecraft. But with improved capabilities in satellite platforms and payloads. All of these activities are monitored by the National Natural Resources System, a nodal agency for the management of natural resources and infrastructure development thru remote sensing data.

The development of IRS-1A contributed a lot to the IRS programme. With the fruitful journey of remote sensing programme in the country, it is indispensable to look back at Indian Space Programme achievements, more specifically in remote sensing apps. There is no doubt that India has been a role model for other parts of the globe.

Over the past few years until now, there has been continued and significant progress in building and launching Indian remote sensing satellite and operational data utilization in different apps.

Nowadays, the variety of Earth Observation satellites with visible and thermal regions of the electromagnetic spectrum have aided the country to realize the main operational applications. Majority of the imaging sensors have spatial resolutions and repeat observation.

For the next few years, its EO satellites are expected to have strengthened technologies. The experiences that experts have acquired would also help address future observational requirements, technological innovation, or even produce high quality of spacecraft ahead of time. There would be more satellite networks that could result in success.