Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will send up 10 earth observation (EO) satellites during 2020-21, according to the space agency’s latest annual report.
On a quick look, such a pre-ponderance of the EO launches is unprecedented and includes new categories such as the first Geo Imaging Satellite, GISAT-1.
In comparison to the 10 earth observation satellites, only three communication satellites and two navigation satellites are planned for the coming financial year starting April, reports The Hindu.
The annual plan mentions 36 missions, another high for a year: these include both satellites and their launchers.
Isro says 19 national EO satellites, 18 communication satellites, and eight navigation satellites are in service, used for broadcasting, telephony, Internet services, weather, and agriculture-related forecasting, security, disaster-time rescue and relief, and location-based services. Three of the communication satellites are dedicated to military communication and networking.
In the ongoing fiscal 2019-20, 17 missions have been planned to be launched and up to six of them are due to be completed by March 31, it says.
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Isro was recently given a budget of nearly ₹13,480 crore for the next fiscal.
The EO sats are ostensibly for benign uses such as land and agriculture watch. But their images also have a very important use for the military, for keeping an eye on the borders. Satellites like RISATs, which carry a synthetic aperture radar on them, provide all-weather, 24-hour information to security agencies.
Apart from GISAT-1 that is fixed over the subcontinent at an orbit 36,000 km high, the space agency plans to launch a new series of high-resolution HRSATs as a threesome on a single PSLV launcher.