ISROs prestigious and indigenous Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Satellite Program includes its constellation of earth observation satellites which provide data, and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad is the nodal agency responsible for overseeing this program.
The NRSC’s responsibilities include data acquisition and processing, aerial remote sensing, data dissemination and decision support for disaster management.
There are 11 operational satellites, all in polar sun-synchronous orbit, and they happen to be the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites being deployed for civilian use in the world today.
To augment the operations of the IRS, ISRO has decided to set up its first overseas ground station in the North Pole, reports the Times of India
According to an ISRO scientist quoted in the publication, the advancements in high-resolution satellite programmes of IRS and the complexity and role of ground stations have significantly increased.
“High-resolution satellites need frequent visibilities with larger processing power, data storage capacity onboard, data downlink of stored images to ground stations, for meeting the global and Indian user requirements,” he added.
ISRO already has two ground stations—IMGEOS at Shadnagar and AGEOS in Antarctica. However, to meet its objective of achieving 14-orbit coverage, the upcoming North Pole ground station is of prime importance.
Why is the North Pole station crucial?
“…Because this will provide an opportunity to download the complete data within the same orbit and enable the usage of onboard resources in every orbit and transfer the raw data in near real-time to Shadnagar,” explained the ISRO scientist.
Rounding off, the scientist said that while ISRO is serious about setting up the station, the plan will take some time to materialise as it involves enormous logistical challenges, international approvals and cooperation.
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Additionally, any hardware installation is a complex task and given the North Pole’s unforgiving weather conditions, which are even tougher to deal with than the weather conditions at the South Pole, this task will undoubtedly be quite a challenge!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)