All that you need to remember about the Indian Remote Sensing satellite system

Let’s know some IRS satellites in brief. Very important from Prelims point of view in terms of quick recollection of facts. 2015 Prelims had one question on IRS.

Let’s clear up some basics from Indian Remote Sensing satellites, as we have seen it in the newscard @Civilsdaily App, but take a glance for IRS knowhow.


Let’s first take a look in history?

  • The launch of India’s first civilian IRS-1A in March 1988, marked the beginning of a successful journey in the course of the Indian Space Programme.
  • The Indian Earth Observation activities carried out under the National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS).
  • With a host of payloads in the thematic series of Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) and the INSAT systems, the Indian Earth Observation (EO) system has been providing operational services to the user community.

What is the IRS Satellite system?

  • The Indian Remote Sensing satellite system has one of the largest constellations of remote sensing satellites in operation in the world today.
  • IRS series of satellites provide data in a variety of spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions.
  • With these and the planned thematic series of satellites, such as Cartosat-3, Megha Tropiques, SARAL, and Insat-3D.
  • The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) is the focal point for distribution of remote sensing satellite data products in India and its neighboring countries.
  • NRSC has an earth station at Shadnagar, about 55 Km from Hyderabad, to receive data from almost all contemporary remote sensing satellites.

But, What is Megha-Tropiques?

  • Megha-Tropiques is an Indo-French Joint Satellite Mission for studying the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics.
  • The main objective is to understand the life cycle of convective systems that influence the tropical weather and climate and their role in associated energy and moisture budget of the atmosphere in tropical regions.


Let’s know some IRS satellites in brief


  • RESOURCESAT – 1, the tenth satellite in IRS series, was launched onboard PSLV – C5 in 2003.
  • It was placed in 820 km high polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
  • The images and data are being used for advanced applications like vegetation dynamics, crop yield estimates, disaster management support.


  • CARTOSAT – 1 was launched into a 617 km polar sun synchronous orbit in 2005 on board PSLV – C6 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR, Sriharikota.
  • The data from Cartosat-1 is used for the preparation of cartographic maps, cadastral mapping updation, land use and GIS applications.


The main objectives of OCEANSAT – 2 are to study surface winds and ocean surface strata, observation of chlorophyll concentrations, monitoring of phytoplankton blooms, study of atmospheric aerosols and suspended sediments in the water.


  • RISAT – 2 is a Radar Imaging Satellite using an active SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) imager with all weather capability to take images of the earth.
  • This Satellite will enhance ISRO’s capability for Disaster Management applications.
  • India’s first satellite with SAR and has a day-night, all-weather monitoring capability.


  • SARAL or Satellite with ARgos and ALtiKa is a cooperative altimetry technology mission of ISRO and CNES (Space Agency of France), was successfully launched on 25 February 2013.
  • The overall objectives are to assess development of operational oceanography, understanding of climate and developing forecasting capabilities.

Published with inputs from Arun

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