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ISRO set to launch Earth Observation Satellite

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch an Earth observation (EO) satellite — called the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS — using a critical chip it has developed.

ISRO is looking to develop operational hyperspectral imaging from earth orbit with a satellite that can see in 55 spectral or colour bands from 630 km above ground. It said, it decided to develop the chip that suited Indian requirements.

Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS:
• It will add new dimension to plain-vanilla optical imagers and will help to keep an eye over India from space.
• It can be used for a range of activities from monitoring the environment, crops, looking for oil and minerals all the way up to military surveillance.
• It enables distinct identification of objects, materials or processes on Earth by reading the spectrum for each pixel of a scene from space.

In the past ISRO has launched earth observation niche with microwave or radar imaging satellites RISAT-1 and 2 that could  see  through clouds and the dark — an important feature useful for the military and security agencies.

ISRO first tried HySIS  in IMS-1 experimental satellite in May 2008. The same year, a hyperspectral camera was put on Chandrayaan-1 and used to map lunar mineral resources. Very few space agencies have such a satellite; a German environmental satellite called EnMAP is due to be launched on an Indian booster in 2018.

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