Indian EO Missions in the Coming Years

Periodic inventory of natural resources, generation and updation of large scale maps, disaster monitoring and mitigation, improved weather forecasting at better spatial and temporal scales, ocean state forecasting, facilitating infrastructure development and providing information services at the community level for better management of land and water resources continue to be the thrust areas of applications for the Indian EO programme. In order to address these thrust areas, the following differentiated Indian EO missions with thematic goals set forth in the earlier years, have been planned, viz., operational polar orbiting RESOURCESAT-2, CARTOSAT- 3, OCEANSAT-2, and RISAT-1; experimental polar orbiting SARAL and low-inclination orbiting Megha Tropiques in cooperation with CNES; and with the geo-stationary INSAT systems with Imagers and Sounders (Fig. 3). In addition, it is planned to have microwave remote sensing satellites with mutli-polarisation and multi-mode capabilities in L-, C-, and X- bands. It is also planned to use the complementary and supplementary data from the other international missions to augment the data sources to meet the increasing demands of the user community in the country.

Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT), planned for launch in middle 2009, will have night and day imaging capability as well as imaging under cloudy conditions. RISAT will complement the band of electro-optical sensors onboard Indian remote sensing satellite launched so far.

OCEANSAT-2, envisaged for providing continuity to OCEANSAT-1, has been approved by the Government and is planned for launch in middle 2009. It will carry Ocean Colour Monitor, Ku-band Scattterometer and a piggy-back payload, namely, Radio Occultation Sounder for Atmospheric studies developed by Italian Space Agency. The satellite will help in locating potential fishing zones, forecasting sea state and in studies related to coastal zones, climate and weather. The Government has also approved the design and development of RESOURCESAT-2 to provide continuity of services of RESOURCESAT-1, which is planned to be launched by 2009.

Fig. 3 India's forthcoming EO missions

Towards providing improved repetitivity and coverage, particularly for disaster management applications, it is planned to have a Geo-stationary High-Resolution Imager (Geo-HR Imager) to provide multiple acquisition capability. In addition, a constellation of electro-optical and microwave remote sensing satellites in LEO will provide sufficient capability for disaster management applications.

In order to derive maximum benefits from the above planned missions, the Indian EO programme is also planning to address corresponding improvements on the ground segment. The emphasis will be towards multi-mission acquisition and processing; effective delivery mechanisms; web-based services; mission oriented outreach activities; development of freeware tools for data products access etc. (Fig. 4).

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