INSAT-3DS: A Meteorological Marvel by ISRO

ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation, has achieved another milestone in its space exploration endeavours with the successful launch of INSAT-3DS, a third generation meteorological satellite, on 17 February 2024. In this article, we will explore the features, benefits and applications of this satellite in detail.

Launch details of INSAT-3DS

The satellite was carried by the GSLV-F14 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 5:35 pm IST and placed in a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The launch was witnessed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who congratulated ISRO for its remarkable achievement. The satellite will undergo a series of orbit-raising manoeuvres before reaching its final geostationary orbit at 82 degrees east longitude .

Payloads and functions

INSAT-3DS is a follow-on mission of INSAT-3DR, which was launched in 2016. The satellite has a mass of 2,250 kg and carries six payloads for various meteorological applications. The payloads include:

  • An imager: It provides high-resolution images of the Earth in six spectral bands (visible, shortwave infrared, mid-infrared, water vapour, thermal infrared and fog) with a spatial resolution of 1 km for visible and 4 km for other bands. It scans the Earth every 15 minutes and provides data for weather monitoring, cloud analysis, fog detection, fire detection and aerosol estimation.
  • A sounder: It provides atmospheric profiles of temperature and humidity in 18 spectral bands (14 infrared and 4 visible/near-infrared) with a spatial resolution of 10 km. It scans the Earth every hour and provides data for weather forecasting, climate studies, atmospheric chemistry and greenhouse gas monitoring.
  • A data relay transponder: It receives meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic data from remote and unmanned stations and relays it to the user agencies. It operates in S-band and C-band frequencies and can handle up to 64 channels.
  • A search and rescue transponder: It picks up distress signals from ships, aircrafts and other users in distress and relays them to the rescue coordination centres. It operates in L-band frequency and is compatible with the international COSPAS-SARSAT system.
  • A radio occultation sounder: It measures the bending of radio signals from GPS satellites as they pass through the atmosphere and provides information on temperature, pressure and water vapour profiles. It operates in L-band frequency and can provide up to 250 soundings per day.
  • A scatterometer: It measures the wind speed and direction over the ocean surface and helps in monitoring cyclones and ocean currents. It operates in Ku-band frequency and has a swath width of 1400 km .

Benefits and applications

INSAT-3DS will enhance the capabilities of India’s weather forecasting and disaster warning systems by providing more accurate and timely data on various meteorological parameters. The satellite will also serve the needs of neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework. Some of the benefits and applications of INSAT-3DS are:

  • Improved weather forecasting: The satellite will provide high-quality data for numerical weather prediction models, which will improve the accuracy and reliability of short-term and medium-term weather forecasts. The satellite will also provide data for generating products such as cloud motion vectors, rainfall estimation, sea surface temperature, snow cover, vegetation index and land surface temperature.
  • Enhanced disaster warning systems: The satellite will provide early detection and tracking of severe weather events such as cyclones, thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, floods, landslides, droughts and forest fires. The satellite will also provide data for issuing timely warnings and alerts to the authorities and the public.
  • Better climate studies: The satellite will provide long-term data sets for studying the variability and trends of climate parameters such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, radiation, aerosols and greenhouse gases. The satellite will also provide data for validating climate models and assessing the impacts of climate change.
  • Support to other sectors: The satellite will provide data for supporting various sectors such as agriculture, water resources, fisheries, aviation, navigation, defence, disaster management, education and research .

INSAT-3DS is a testament to ISRO’s excellence in space technology and its commitment to serve the nation and humanity through its space missions. The satellite will join the constellation of INSAT/GSAT satellites that provide various communication, broadcasting, navigation and meteorological services to India and the region.

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