ISRO releases first Earth images from its meteorological satellite INSAT-3DS

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which has been making giant strides in recent years, including the globally acclaimed Chandrayaan 3 lunar mission, has now released a magnificent image of Earth — with India clearly defined — taken by its meteorological satellite INSAT-3DS.

ISRO satellite image of Earth
ISRO releases image of Earth, clearly showing India, taken by INSAT-3DS. Photo courtesy: X/@isro

ISRO said on Monday that INSAT-3DS had initiated Earth imaging operations, and released the first set of images captured by the on-board payloads (6-channel Imager and 19-channel Sounder).

The Imager and Sounder payloads are similar to the ones flown on INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR, but significant improvements have been achieved in radiometric accuracy, black body calibration, thermal management, and imaging throughput, among others.

The payloads were designed and developed at the Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad. The first images are processed and released at the Master Control Facility, Hassan in Karnataka.

Noting that the 6-channel Imager equipment captured images of Earth’s surface and atmosphere across multiple spectral channels or wavelengths, ISRO said that the use of multiple channels allowed for gathering information about various atmospheric and surface phenomena, such as clouds, aerosols, land surface temperature, vegetation health, and water vapour distribution.

“The Imager could be configured to capture specific features of interest,” said ISRO.

The 19-channel Sounder captured radiation emitted by Earth’s atmosphere through channels carefully chosen to capture radiation emitted by different atmospheric constituents and properties like water vapour, ozone, carbon dioxide, and other gases, while others could be designed to measure temperature variations in different layers of the atmosphere, added the organisation.

These payloads generate over 40 geophysical data products, such as Sea Surface Temperature, Rainfall (precipitation) Products, Land Surface Temperature, Fog Intensity, Outgoing Longwave Radiation, Atmospheric Motion Vectors, High-Resolution Winds, Upper Tropospheric Humidity, Cloud Properties, Smoke, Fire, Mean Surface Pressure, Temperature Profiles, Water Vapour Profiles, Surface Skin Temperature and Total Ozone for the user community.

The INSAT-3DS data collected derived information about the vertical structure of the atmosphere, crucial for weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and understanding atmospheric processes, ISRO said.

The space agency said that after completing orbit-raising operations, the satellite, launched on February 17, reached the designated geostationary slot for the In Orbit Testing (IOT) on February 28.

IOT of the Satellite Communications was conducted between February 29 and March 3. As part of Meteorological Payload IOT, the first session of imaging for Imager and Sounder payloads was carried out on March 7.

The payload parameters were found to be nominal, complying with payload specifications, it said. Thus, all the payloads of INSAT-3DS had been tested to perform nominally, added ISRO.