ISRO launch of GISAT Earth Observation Satellite. Will it be a game-changer? K. Siddhartha

GISAT: A major landmark in space launch is taking place. A brand-new satellite with the capability to change a lot of things will change a lot of things for India.

GISAT is an earth observation satellite The launch on August 12 will mark the resumption of services which has come to a halt during COVID. GISAT will be launched by GSLV carrying a 4-metre diameter-Ogive shaped satellite.

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The satellite will be placed in the geosynchronous transfer orbit by GSLV after which it will move in sync with Earth. GSLV is a fourth-generation launch vehicle is a three-stage vehicle with four liquid strap-ons and an indigenously developed cryogenic engine.

What is Earth Observation Satellite?

Earth observation satellites or Earth remote sensing satellites are satellites used or designed for Earth observation (EO) from orbit, including spy satellites and similar ones intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, cartography, and others. Earth Observation (EO) satellites help us to monitor Earth our environment, manage resources, track and manage disasters and policy making for  sustainable development. They provide essential information on a vast number of areas, including; ocean salinity, ice thickness, crop health, and air quality.

The most common types are Earth-imaging satellites, which take satellite images, analogous to aerial photographs; some EO satellites may perform remote sensing without forming pictures.

Types of EOS

EO satellites can be divided into two types based on how they capture imagery: passive and active.

Passive satellites detect radiation reflected off the Earth’s surface, such as visible light and infrared. In general, passive satellites are not able to work through clouds, they provide signals through different spectrums and in different bands

Active satellites transmit energy towards the Earth and measure the returned signal which provides information about the Earth’s surface. In general, active satellites can see through the cloud.

How earth observational satellites collect data

Earth Observational Satellites travel on a range of different orbits, offering varying perspectives of the Earth. Most satellites do not continuously collect data due to limitations in power and memory. Some offer regular and reliable data acquisition while others collect in small quantities over a period of time. Data is stored on-board the satellite until it is in sight of a ground station to downlink the data. The time between an image being taken and being available to download can range between a month to a few minutes and is getting faster as technology progresses. As satellites are owned by different companies there are several data providers, each with their own pricing structure.

Isro has launched many operational remote sensing satellites.

Currently, thirteen operational satellites are in sun-synchronous orbit and four in Geostationary orbit.

The data from these satellites are used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, ocean resources and disaster management.

GISAT for a change will be in Geostationary Orbit.

GISAT will image the whole country four to five times on a daily basis, sending in key data related to weather and environmental change to different agencies.

Objectives of the mission,

  1. satellite would provide near real-time imaging of the large area region of interest at frequent intervals.,.
  2. It would help in quick monitoring of natural disasters, episodic, and any short-term events. it would enable near real-time monitoring of natural disasters like floods and cyclones. In addition to natural disasters
  3. The third objective is to obtain spectral signatures of agriculture, forestry, mineralogy, disaster warning, cloud properties, snow and glacier, and oceanography. It would also enable monitoring of water bodies, crops, vegetation condition, forest cover changes

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