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ISRO plans to launch 50 satellites in five years for intelligence gathering: S Somanath

Source : Business Today

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief S Somanath on Thursday said that India is planning to launch 50 satellites in the next five years for geo-intelligence gathering. The initiative involves the creation of a layer of satellites in different orbits with a capacity to track the movement of troops and image thousands of kilometers of area.

The current size of India’s satellite fleet is not enough for realising India’s ambition to become a strong nation and it should be “ten times what we have today”, he said while speaking at ‘Techfest’, an annual science and technology event organised by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B).

ISRO plans to launch 50 satellites in five years for intelligence gathering: S Somanath

ISRO plans to launch 50 satellites in five years for intelligence gathering: S Somanath
ISRO Chairman S. Somnath. (PTI Photo)

He further added that it is important to improve the ability of satellites to detect changes, to bring in more of AI-related and data-driven approach to analyse data, reduce data downloads and get only the necessary information.

Spacecrafts are capable of observing a country’s borders and neighbouring regions, the ISRO chief noted.

“All of it can be seen from satellites. This capability gives us enormous potential. We have been launching satellites to handle this, but there is a different way of thinking now and we need to look at it in a much more critical manner because the power of (any) nation is the ability to understand what is happening around it,” PTI quoted Somanath as saying.

“We have already configured 50 satellites to be realised in the next five years and this is going to be launched for India for supporting this particular geo-intelligence capability over the next five years plus (period),” the ISRO chief added.

If India is able to launch satellites at this scale, threats to the country can be better mitigated, Somanath said.

He stated that a way has been found by which a layer of satellites can be launched starting from GEO (geostationary equatorial orbit) to LEO (lower earth orbit) and also (in) very low earth orbit where “we need very critical assessment of some situation”.

“We will have communication between satellites, so that if some satellite detects something, which is at GEO at 36,000 kms, it can have a large view. If you find some activity happening, you can task another satellite in the lower orbit (to check) much more carefully and then give more information,” he said.

The ISRO chief noted that the overall satellite fleet of India, with its current strength of 54, is “just not enough” for a country which is aspiring to be powerful and strong.

(With PTI inputs)



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