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India has one of the largest constellations of remote sensing satellites with 17 satellites in operation. These satellites provide huge data at various spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions at national and global levels and have been utilized in various diverse application areas – agriculture and soils; bio resource and environment; cartographic mapping; geology and mineral resources; ocean and meteorology; urban and rural development; water resources; natural resource census; disaster management and climate change.

Following are the current operational Indian Earth Observation Satellites:


RESOURCESAT-2A launched on December 7, 2016 for earth resource monitoring. It is a follow on mission of previously launched RESOURCESAT satellites (RESOURCESAT-1 and RESOURCESAT-2) and has similar sensors – LISS-IV (5.8m resolution), LISS-III (23.5m resolution) and AWiFS (56m resolution).

CARTOSAT-2 Satellite Series
CARTOSAT-2 Satellite Series

Photo Courtesy – ISRO – First Day Multispectral Image (1.6m resolution) from CARTOSAT-2 series satellite launched on Feb 15, 2017

CARTOSAT-2 Satellite Series 1

Photo Courtesy – ISRO – First Day Panchromatic Image (0.6m resolution) from CARTOSAT-2 series satellite launched on 15 Feb 2017

Recently launched on February 15, 2017 by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is similar to earlier four CARTOSAT-2 series satellites (CARTOSAT-2, 2A, 2B, and CARTOSAT-2 series). It is providing high resolution data in panchromatic and as well as in multispectral bands. It is useful for cartographic applications, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection, etc.

Launched (May, 2005) for cartographic mapping applications, it provides stereo images for digital elevation models, ortho image products and other products at 2.5 m resolution.

RISAT -1 Microwave Imagery

Photo Courtesy – ISRO

Radar Satellite (RISAT-1 and 2) are the microwave remote sensing satellite imaging of surface features during both day and night under all weather conditions. Their application includes agriculture monitoring and natural disasters management.


Photo Courtesy – ISRO

SCATSAT-1 was launched in September 2016 as a continuity mission for Oceansat-2 Scatterometer. It provides the wind vector data products for weather forecasting, cyclone detection and tracking services.


Photo Courtesy – ISRO

Oceansat-2 launched on September 2009 provides continuity to operational services of Oceansat-1 with enhanced oceanographic studies.

Megha Tropiques

It was launched in October 2011 under an Indo-French Joint Satellite Mission for studying the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics. It provides data on condensed water in clouds, water vapour in the atmosphere, precipitation, and evaporation.


SARAL/AiltKa wind speed around coastal regions of India Photo Courtesy : Meteorological & Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre, Space Applications Centre, ISRO

Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA (SARAL) was launched in February 2013 for oceanographic studies like OCEANSAT. It basically carries out altimetric measurements to study ocean circulation and sea surface elevation.


INSAT – 3DR Temperature Image
Photo Courtesy : Meteorological & Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre, Space

These are geo-stationary satellites. INSAT-3DR similar to INSAT-3D, launched in September 2016 is an advanced meteorological satellite with an imaging system and an atmospheric sounder. It provides better imaging in nighttime of low clouds and fog and better estimation of sea surface temperature.

INSAT-3D is designed for generating vertical profile of the atmosphere in terms of temperature and humidity for weather forecasting and disaster warning.

INSAT–3A is designed as multipurpose satellite i.e to provide telecommunications, television broadcasting, meteorological and search and rescue services.

KALPANA-1 formerly known as METSAT (renamed as Kalpana – 1 on Indian born American Astronaut Dr. Kalpana Chawla) is the first dedicated meteorological satellites built by ISRO.


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