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21.7.15

India's remote sensing capabilities are almost legendary.
http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4312/p36.jpg
India's remote sensing satellites evolved to stop dependence on NASA's Remote sensing satellites and now it is the best in the world.

In 1999, a super cyclone hit Odisha and killed 20,000 people. Indian weather agencies were unable to make a correct forecast for the storm because India was heavily dependent on satellite data from USA,  which often suffered from delays and even denials. In 2013, India suffered from a cyclone of similar strength but the casualty was one person. India's array of remote sensing satellites -- one of the largest constellations in the world -- with spatial resolutions ranging from less than a meter to 500 meters allowed for accurate forecast and preparedness.

Unlike some other space programs, Indian space program is focused on utilitarian benefits. The data from IRS (Indian Remote Sensing) satellites is used for a variety of applications including groundwater prospect mapping, crop acreage and production estimation, potential fishing zone forecasting based on chlorophyll and sea surface temperature, biodiversity characterization, detailed impact assessment of watershed development projects, generation of natural resources data/information, etc.

Indian space program is characterized by its remarkable self-reliance. In the past, India had to face technology denials. Countries like Russia and USA backed out from delivering key technologies for launching rockets and satellites. Thus,India focused on building indigenous solutions and processes. The strength ofIndia's self-sufficiency is demonstrated by the fact that it has now launched French and Japanese satellites. ISRO's commercial arm ANTRIX regularly leases out space technologies and is earning hefty profits.

India launched a Mars orbiter mission for $73 million. To put this in perspective, we spent 454 crores, less than the cost of Mumbai Indians cricket team (1000 crore) and less than the cost of Ambani's home (5000 crore). India has one of the most cost-effective space program in the world.

Sources:


ISRO scientists at work

See: Social equality as crucial for India as space exploration | The National

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