India is amongst the first few countries to realise the potential of space technology and its applications. The pioneer of the Indian space programme, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, under whose chairmanship, the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was formed in 1962, had cherished a dream that India should be second to none in the application of advanced technologies like space to solve the real problems of man and society. In 1972, the Indian Space Programme was formally organised with the setting up of the Space Commission and government funding through the Department of Space.
SITE was the largest sociological experiment ever carried out in the world. STEP was another major demonstration of long distance satellite telecommunication application of space.
A major development took place during 1980's, through establishment of the operational Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system, for providing indigenous services in telecommunications, TV broadcasting, meteorology and disaster warning. INSAT series, commissioned in 1983, has today become one of the largest domestic satellite systems in the world.
for industrial employees, social welfare personnel and training of Panchayat Raj (village governance) workers, etc.
This project is being expanded to cover more villages that will be dedicated to the development of rural society.
India has 3.3 million km2 land area with varied physical features ranging from snow-covered Himalayas in the north to tropical forests in south and from regions in the east receiving highest rainfall in the world to deserts of Rajasthan in the west. India is also blessed with vast natural wealth but yet to be exploited fully. A coastal belt of 7,500 km has a store of rich aquatic resources. What better way can be there to monitor and manage the natural resources for a large country like India than using the powerful tool of space-based observation systems? India not only demonstrated the potential of space-based remote sensing in the 70's using data received from the US satellite, LANDSAT, but also built its own experimental satellites, BHASKARA-1 and BHASKARA-2, which were launched in June 1979 and November 1981, respectively. India became one of the few countries to develop its own operational Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS-1A) in March 1988. Today, India has the largest constellation of five remote sensing satellites, IRS-1B, IRS-1C, IRS-1D, IRS-P3, and IRS-P4 in operation. Among them are IRS-1C and IRS-1D, which are the best civilian remote sensing satellites in the world. IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT-1) launched in May 1999 is used for Ocean Resources monitoring and for understanding the atmosphere over the oceans. Two more satellites, IRS-P5 for cartographic applications and IRS-P6 for resources survey, are planned for launch in the coming years. Data from IRS is used for estimation of acreage and yield of important crops like wheat, rice, sorghum, oil seeds and sugarcane, and other applications such as forest survey, forecasting drought conditions, flood mapping and demarcation of flood-risk zones, land use and land cover mapping for agro-climatic planning, waste land mapping and their classification for possible reclamation, preparation of hydro-geo-morphological maps for locating sites for borewells, monitoring and development of irrigation command areas, snow-cover and snow-melt run-off estimation of Himalayan rivers for optimal use of water, etc. Data from IRS is also used in urban planning, alignment of roads and pipelines, detection of underground fires in collieries, marine resources survey, mineral prospecting, etc. A unique application of data from IRS is in the Integrated Mission for Sustainable Development (IMSD) which is aimed at generating locale-specific prescriptions for development at micro-level. The impact of IMSD is already seen in areas where prescriptions generated have been actually implemented.
a) Atmospheric Motion Vector(m/s), b) Upper Tropospheric Humidity(%), c) Outgoing Longwave Radiation, d) Quantitative Precipitation Index (mm)
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (usually known by its abbreviation, GSLV) is an expendable launch system operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was developed to enable India to launch its INSAT-type satellites into geostationary orbit and to make India less dependent on foreign rockets.previously depended on Soviet Union rockets.
The first two flights of the GSLV were developmental. The first, partially successful, flight was on 18 April 2001 which launched GSAT-1. The second, which was fully successful, was on 8 May 2003 launching the experimental communication satellite GSAT-2. The first operational flight (GSLV-F01) was the launch of the EDUSAT communications satellite on 20 September 2004. The fourth flight (GSLV-F02) on 10 July 2006 was unsuccessful in launching the 2168 kg (4,780 lb) communications satellite INSAT-4C as both rocket and satellite were destroyed over the Bay of Bengal after the rocket's trajectory veered outside of permitted limits. A defective propellant regulator of the fourth strap-on motor caused asymmetric thrust on the vehicle, steering it off course and consequently the self destruct feature was deployed as a safety measure. The fifth flight of GSLV (GSLV-F04), carrying a replacement for INSAT-4C was successfully completed on 2 September 2007, carrying the INSAT-4CR satellite ( a payload of roughly 2160 kg carrying 12 KU band transponders capable of reaching across India) into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. The five flights of GSLV so far have used Russian cryogenic engine for the last stage. The next flight will use an indigenous cryogenic engine developed by ISRO.
Remote sensing is the small or large-scale acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by the use of either recording or real-time sensing device(s) that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object (such as by way of aircraft, spacecraft, satellite, buoy, or ship). In practice, remote sensing is the stand-off collection through the use of a variety of devices for gathering information on a given object or area. Thus, Earth observation or weather satellite collection platforms, ocean and atmospheric observing weather buoy platforms.
Reflected sunlight is the most common source of radiation measured by passive sensors.
Remote sensing makes it possible to collect data on dangerous or inaccessible areas. Remote sensing applications include monitoring deforestation in areas such as the Amazon Basin, the effects of climate change on glaciers and Arctic and Antarctic regions, and depth sounding of coastal and ocean depths. Military collection during the cold war made use of stand-off collection of data about dangerous border areas. Remote sensing also replaces costly and slow data collection on the ground, ensuring in the process that areas or objects are not disturbed.
With the development of a physical oceanography program at CSI, the need to put site-specific measurements into a larger spatial context became imperative. Satellite-based remote sensing data were beginning to fill that need by the late 1970s (Huh et al., 1978). In 1988 Dr. Oscar Huh started the Earth Scan Laboratory (ESL) within CSI with a grant from Louisiana’s Educational Quality Enhancement Fund. The ESL is a direct broadcast ground station and remote sensing laboratory that receives and processes real-time environmental satellite data using three antenna on LSU rooftops. This station was first on the Gulf coast to receive NOAA AVHRR images. ESL capabilities have expanded to include real-time reception and processing of data from five additional satellite sensors; including GOES GVAR, Orbview-2 SeaWiFS, Terra-1 and Aqua-1 MODIS, Oceansat-1 OCM and SAR (synthetic aperture radar). The ESL houses a large archive of environmental satellite data dating back to 1988.
The medium-resolution radiometer is another workhorse, and offers excellent spatial coverage each time the satellite passes overhead. Examples are the NOAA Advanced Very-High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR, resolution about 1-4 km, swath about 2000 km) and the new Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS, resolution 0.25-1.0 km, swath about 2,300 km) onboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. Unfortunately from a sea ice perspective, these sensors are severely limited by cloud cover and, in the case of visible-near-infrared sensors, polar darkness. However, such is the regularity of coverage that gaps can usually be found in the cloud cover; and cloud cover is itself an important climate variable. Composite ocean colour image of the Southern Ocean from data from the SeaWiFs sensor onboard the SeaStar satellite (Sep ’97 – Aug ‘00. The colours relate to chlorophyll a concentrations in the upper ice-free ocean (red - highest concentration). Sea ice and ice sheets are masked out in white. Courtesy of NASA. Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper image of the Cape Adare region (image centered on 70.92°S, 171.62°E), December 12 1999 (about 21:00 UTC). The ETM simultaneously collects high-resolution data in 8 bands (0.45-12.5 microns) across a 180 x 183 km scene. Note that individual floe assemblages are resolved. Courtesy of US Geological Survey and Eosat International.
Paul Sourya Chatterjee (1034)
Pioneer of the Indian Space
Dr. Vikram Sarabhai
Founder and Chairman Indian National Committee for Space
In 1975-76, the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment
(SITE) telecast a series of educational TV programmes
on health, family planning, agriculture, education to cover
2,500 Indian villages via the US satellite, ATS-6.
The Satellite Telecommunication Experiment Project (STEP),
conducted using Franco-German SYMPHONIE satellite during
India also launched its own APPLE (Ariane Passenger Payload
Experiment), an experimental communication satellite, in June,
1981 using the opportunity offered by the European Space
Agency (ESA) to launch this satellite on board the third
developmental flight of ARIANE.
Largest domestic communication system
in the world.
Joint venture undertaken by the
Department of Space, Department of
Meteorological Department and All India
Radio and Doordarshan.
Serves the television and communication
needs of India.
Carries with it 199 transponders and has
Very High Resolution Radiometer
(VHRR) and CCD cameras for
PERFORMANCE OF INSAT
Television reaches to about 85 percent of the population
through over 1000 TV transmitters linked via INSAT.
Educational programmes for over 100 hours are telecast
INSAT system has become a powerful tool for training and
developmental education and is used by various agencies to
provide continuing education, conduct in-situ training.
A pilot project that started in November, 1996 in a tribal
district of Madhya Pradesh in Central India is now in progress to
educate the tribal community on various aspects of health,
hygiene, family planning, women's rights, etc.
Satellite Launch Date Mission Status
1 INSAT – 1A 10 April 1982 Deactivated on 6 September 1982
2 INSAT – 1B 30 August 1983 Completed mission life
3 INSAT – 1C 22 July 1988 Abandoned in November 1989
4 INSAT – 1D 12 June 1990 Completed mission life
5 INSAT – 2A 10 July 1992 India's First Indigenous communication
Satellite. Completed mission life
6 INSAT – 2B 23 July 1993 Completed mission life
7 INSAT – 2C 7 December 1997 Completed mission life
8 INSAT – 2D 4 June 1997 Became inoperable on 4 October 1997
9 INSAT – 2DT In-orbit
Completed mission life
Satellite Launch Date Mission Status
10 INSAT – 2E 3 April 1999 In service
11 INSAT – 3A 10 April 2003 In service
12 INSAT – 3B 22 May 2000 In service
13 INAST – 3C 24 January 2002 In service
14 KALPANA – 1 12 September 2002 In service
15 GSAT – 1 8 May 2003 In service
16 INSAT – 3E 28 September 2003 In service
17 EDUSAT 20 September 2004 In service
18 INSAT – 4A 22 December 2005 In service
19 INSAT – 4CR 2 September 2007 In geosynchronous orbit
Images derived from INSAT 3A and Kalpana
a) Atmospheric Motion Vector(m/s), b) Upper Tropospheric Humidity(%),
c) Outgoing Longwave Radiation, d) Quantitative Precipitation Index (mm)
Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
GSLV at the Launch Site - Sriharikota
GSLV-F04 at Vehicle Assembly Building
GSLV-F04 lifts off from the Second
Launch Pad carrying INSAT-4CR
49 m (160 ft)
2.8 m (9.1 ft)
402,000 kg (886,000 lb)
18 April 2001
L40H Vikas, S139, GS2
160 s, 100 s, 150 s,
Vehicle Variant Date of Launch
Payload Mission Status
18 April 2001 Sriharikota GSAT-1
8 May 2003 Sriharikota GSAT-2
10 July 2006 Sriharikota INSAT-4C
rocket and satellite had
to be destroyed over
the Bay of Bengal after
the rocket's trajectory
veered outside of
There are two types of remote sensing :-
I. Passive Remote Sensing:- Sensors detect natural
radiation that is emitted or reflected by the object or
surrounding area being observed.
Example:- infra-red, charge-coupled devices.
II. Active Remote Sensing:- Active collection emits energy
in order to scan objects and areas whereupon a passive
sensor then detects and measures the radiation that is
reflected or backscattered from the target.
RADAR is an example of active remote sensing.
Conventional radar is mostly associated with aerial traffic
control and large scale meteorological data. Types of active
collection includes plasmas in the ionosphere. Interferometric
synthetic aperture radar is used to produce precise digital
elevation models of large scale terrain.
Laser and radar altimeters on satellites have provided a wide
range of data. By measuring the bulges of water caused by gravity,
they map features on the seafloor to a resolution of a mile or so.
By measuring the height and wave-length of ocean waves, the
altimeters measure wind speeds and direction, and surface ocean
currents and directions.
LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) - is well known in the
examples of weapon ranging, laser illuminated homing of
projectiles. LIDAR is used to detect and measure the concentration
of various chemicals in the atmosphere, while airborne LIDAR can
be used to measure heights of objects and features on the ground
more accurately than with radar technology.
This image reveals the spatial extent of river sediments on the
Louisiana shelf after a cold front passage event. Red, green and
blue channels are continued in this "true colour" enhancement
(Feb 23, 2003).
Satellite Image from the Terra-1 Modis
Ocean Chlorophyll Parameter
Image shows chlorophyll-a distribution on the Louisiana
shelf on 22 March 2003. The image was captured by the
Oceansat-1 ocean colour monitor.
Image from the SeaWiFs onboard
SeaStar satellite. Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper
image of the Cape Adare region.
Imagery from Google Earth is
provided by a company called
A new spacecraft known as
WorldView is now launched. The
new ‘craft’ provides high definition
satellite, which means more
accuracy for us users.
Together with the company’s
existing Quickbird satellite, it
offers half-meter resolution and
collects over 6 million km2 of
imagery each day, up from the
current collection of that amount
Satellite Image of San Francisco from LANDSAT