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Insights into Editorial: EOS-01, India’s latest earth observation satellite that was launched

 

ISRO

Context:

India sent its first space mission in almost a year with a launch of EOS-01, an earth observation satellite. EOS-01, along with nine satellites from foreign countries, was launched by a PSLV rocket twelve minutes past three.

This is ISRO’s first mission since the launch of RISAT-2BR1, another earth observation satellite similar to EOS-01, on December 11, 2019.

After that, ISRO had also sent communication satellite GSAT-30 in space in January this year, but that was done using an Ariane rocket launched from French Guiana.

Thereafter, ISRO’s launch schedule was entirely derailed by the coronavirus epidemic. ISRO had planned more than 20 satellite launches in the fiscal year 2020-21, including high profile missions like Aditya L1, the first exploratory mission to Sun, and unmanned Gaganyaan, the precursor to India’s first manned space flight.

New nomenclature: EOS-01:

  1. EOS-01 is nothing but another Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) that will work together with RISAT-2B and RISAT-2BR1 launched last year.
  2. EOS-01 was initially named RISAT-2BR2, and was supposed to be the third of the three-spacecraft constellation aimed at providing all-weather round-the-clock service for high-resolution images.
  3. With EOS-01, ISRO is moving to a new naming system for its earth observation satellites which till now have been named thematically, according to the purpose they are meant for.
    1. For example, the Cartosat series of satellites were meant to provide data for land topography and mapping, while the Oceansat satellites were meant for observations over sea.
  4. Some INSAT-series, Resourcesat series, GISAT, Scatsat, and some more are all earth observation satellites, named differently for the specific jobs they are assigned to do, or the different instruments that they use to do their jobs.
  5. Land and forest mapping and monitoring, mapping of resources like water or minerals or fishes, weather and climate observations, soil assessment, geospatial contour mapping are all done through earth-observation satellites.

Radar Imaging: High-resolution images of the land:

  1. EOS-01, like its cousins RISAT-2B and RISAT-2BR1, uses synthetic aperture radars to produce high-resolution images of the land.
  2. One big advantage that radar imaging has over optical instruments is that it is unaffected by weather, cloud or fog, or the lack of sunlight. It can produce high-quality images in all conditions and at all times.
  3. Depending on the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation used by the radar, different properties on land can be captured in the image.
    1. For example, a low wavelength signal can capture tree cover or vegetation, while a higher wavelength signal can penetrate even dense tree cover to look at the contours of land beneath.
  4. EOS-01, and its sister RISATs, use X-band radars that operate at low wavelengths and are considered best for monitoring of urban landscape, and imaging of agricultural or forest land.
  5. According to ISRO, EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
  6. The radar images are also considered to be immensely useful for military requirements.

Earth Observation Satellites Applications:

  1. Earth Observation Satellites of ISRO has been successfully able to establish many operational applications in the country.
  2. Both at Central and State level, there are large number of users who utilise space-based inputs for various purposes.
  3. Some of the important missions of ISRO, in terms of IRS series of satellites, that has enabled unique applications of space based imaging are, Cartosat-1 & 2, Resourcesat-1 & 2, Oceansat-1 & 2, Risat-1, Megha-Tropiques, SARAL, Scatsat, INSAT series, and host of other satellites.
  4. ISRO is in the verge of realising next generation of these satellites, as part of continuity of missions, to ensure that the user community is continuously benefitted from space inputs for sustainable development and good governance.
  5. Remote Sensing applications projects at National, State and Local levels are being carried out through a well-established multi-pronged implementation architecture of National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) in the country.
  6. During past many years, Indian Remote Sensing Satellite constellation has taken giant strides in ensuring many areas of application, operational.
  7. Some of the most prominent ones are Agricultural Crops Inventory, Water Resources Information System, Ground Water Prospects, Forest Working Plans, Biodiversity and Coral Mapping, Potential Fishing Zones, Ocean State Forecasts, Rural Development, Urban Development, Inventory & Monitoring of Glacial Lakes / Water Bodies, Location based Services using NavIC constellation, Disaster Management Support Programme (Cyclone and Floods Mapping & Monitoring, Landslide Mapping & Monitoring, Agricultural Drought, Forest Fire, Earthquakes, Extreme Weather Monitoring and experimental Forecasts and so on).
  8. Geospatial technologies, remote sensing, satellite communication and navigation systems are providing many new ways for effective management of natural resources.
  9. This has resulted in enabling variety of data and information products for societal benefits and also helping planners and decision-makers to embark upon unique people-centric services.
  10. Web Geoportals and mobile technologies (Bhuvan Geoportal) are the other popular platforms, being used by Governments, to provide information services and solutions at all levels, which are proving to be effective.
  11. The Government system has successfully adopted to use such technologies for the benefit of people at large.
  12. The architecture of space programme in India emphasises on the applications, with active participation of user-community from Government, Academia and Industry.

Conclusion:

The hallmark of Indian space programme is the application-oriented focus and the benefits that have accrued to the country through these programmes.

The societal services offered by Earth Observation, SATCOM and the recent NavIC constellation of satellites in various areas of national development, including tele-education and telemedicine, are standing examples of applications-oriented space programme of India.

ISRO works closely with Central & State Government departments/ ministries, Industry and Academia in ensuring best of solutions for optimal management of Natural Resources, support services for good governance and societal development.

Through a well-coordinated effort, this system has been able to provide several important applications that are becoming people-centric today.