India building satellite-based Military Surveillance System

September 8th, 2005  

Topic: India building satellite-based Military Surveillance System


Source:Defence industry Daily

India is building up a satellite-based Military Surveillance and Reconnaissance System that will become operational by 2007, allowing it to keep watch on developments in its area. "The program is in the advanced stages of development and is planned to be operational by 2007," Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Parliament recently.

The system was to be operational by 2005, but the defense minister said validation of technologies had taken more time than anticipated. While India's procurement system has a reputation for being very risk-averse and missing deadlines most of the time, this sort of issue is not uncommon in American satellite programs either.

India has not launched any explicitly military satellites to date and the government remains tight-lipped, but experts believe the country has several options...

Civilian Stealth

First off, it's important to note that these developments are not entirely a surprise.

An Indian government adviser hinted in 2002 at a new military satellite in the early stages of development, to be built by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the launch facilitaites in French Guyana or Sritharikota Island.

At the time, sources in ISRO noted that it is not mandated to launch military satellites, unless there is a directive from the government or a major shift in the policy laid down when ISRO was set up in 1972.

In practice, however, this has not been an issue.

One reason is that ISRO's activities have not always been entirely civilian. In May 1992, for instance, the U.S. Department of State imposed trade sanctions against ISRO for its missile proliferation activities in India.

Another reason is that several of India's current civilian satellites have resolutions that would make them acceptable spy satellites.

ISRO launched the 1-meter resolution Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) in 2001, making it the only civilian space agency to possess this technology besides the American, privately owned Ikonos satellite. Although at the time of the launch former chairman of ISRO K. Kasturirangan said that the satellite was meant for "civilian use consistent with our security concerns," it went on to successfully relay high-quality images of the war in Afghanistan and of Pakistani troop movements along the border.

Notes that 1-meter resolution means TES can distinguish objects and details on Earth as small as one square meter (about three feet square) To put that in vernacular terms: You can count the cars in a parking lot, and tell which are pickups and sedans, but it isn't good enough to distinguish individual people or read automobile license plates.

India successfully launched Resourcesat-1 (IRS-P6) on October 17, 2003, which is considered their most sophisticated remote sensing satellite to date. Its maximum resolution is approximately 6 meters. On May 7, 2005, ISRO went on to launch the 2.5-meter resolution Cartosat-1 satellite, which has "two cameras able to point at an object from two different angles." Cartosat-2 will have an expected 1-meter resolution and a 120 GB storage capacity for captured images, and is scheduled for launch at the end of 2005.

Officially, the Cartosat platforms will be used for cartographic purposes, as well as urban and rural development. Unofficially, they are effectively dual-use even though theyfall short of the 10-15cm (4"-6") capabilities of the best military satellites today.

Integration: The Secret Weapon

One good way to leverage all of this work would be to build a facility to collect input from these diverse platforms, integrate it with other sensors and information, and display it for analysis and monitoring. This could provide a strong surveillance capability just by combining existing "civilian" assets already in place.

Alternatively, ISRO may indeed be preparing a military-quality high resolution satellite for launch. Even in this eventuality, however, a complementary integrated ground system may offer India the best option for immediate growth in their Satellite Reconnaissance and Surveillance (SRS) system's overall capabilities.

The Israeli Option

Another option for India is to include elements of foreign cooperation in its system.

Israel has been considering an Indian offer to lease the Israeli Ofek-5 military remote-sensing satellite since September 2003. Israel's Defense Ministry reportedly offered India the services of the dual-use 1.8-meter resolution Eros-A remote-sensing satellite in December 2003, but an agreement for the Ofek-5 (which is believed to have resolution below 1-meter) would allow India to obtain superior images.

Satellite Trends

India's recent ambitions aren't an isolated case. Rather, they're outgrowths of global trends with implications for the USA.

Both satellite surveillance capabilities and electronic networking and synthesis of this information are the products of falling technology threshholds, with the computing element falling fastest. As Wulf von Kries notes:

"The French Spot system, although established as a civilian enterprise, from the outset was also planned to serve as a testbed for a later military system, i.e. Helios which came into being in 1995. Not surprisingly, therefore, both systems have a number of commonalities, e.g. the spacecraft "bus" and certain subsystems such as the data recorders. From a broader point of view it is interesting to note that the current civilian Spot system in terms of performance is equivalent to earlier US reconnaissance satellites, and that the first generation military Helios system will be matched by the planned commercial high-resolution US systems."

Note, too, the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency contract to Space Imaging for exclusive rights to all commercial Ikonos satellite imagery of conflict areas in Central Asia following 9/11, in a $1.9-million per month deal that had indefinite renewal options.

Buying up available capacity may work now, but increasing numbers of commercial and national "civilian" satellites with high-resolution capabilities will eventually render this option much less useful.

India's progress is simply the early bellwether.

India: Into the Future

Though ISRO and DRDO officials were tightlipped about the project, Indian experts have said the set up of extensive ground-based surveillance and coordination systems, hooked up to India's remote sensing satellites, would enable the country to keep a watch on all explosive spots, missile silos, any movements in the neighborhood, as well as sudden military build-ups.

Despite its limited resources, India has and is continuing to develop a broad-based space program with indigenous launch vehicles, satellites, control facilities, and data processing.

It would seem that the country may be ready to take the next step.

September 8th, 2005  
anything India says will be operational in the future, you got to add that time by 5-10 years.

like LCA or MCA...
September 9th, 2005  

Source:BBC News

India's Technology Experiment Satellite (TES), which can be used as a spy satellite, has been beaming down what space officials call "excellent pictures".

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), based in this southern Indian city, is keeping the pictures under wraps for strategic reasons.

"We have not got approval of the government to release the pictures yet", ISRO officials say.

India is in possession of images of the war in Afghanistan, official sources maintain.

TES, launched in October from the Sriharikota launch pad on the east coast, is a precursor for the launch of fully operational spy satellites.

The first high-resolution pictures from its one-metre camera were taken over the temple town of Puri in Orissa on the east coast.

Rocket launch (Photo from ISRO)
Indian space programme should help its security concerns
"The pictures beamed by TES of the temples are fantastic!" enthuse ISRO officials.

The temple images were shown to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee last week, and he was delighted to see them.

With TES in position, defence officials say India can pick up images even of a truck moving along the border area of Pakistan.

India has fought three wars with Pakistan, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Technical wizardry

TES can detect objects three-foot long or more.

India is the second country in the world after the USA that can offer images with one-metre resolution.

TES can be used for the mapping industry and geographical information services, officials said.

Apart from US military satellites, Ikonos, a private space company in the US, has a satellite that beams high resolution images.

India has emerged as a key player in the $1bn market for satellite images, jockeying with two well-established names, Spot of France and Landsat of US.

Antrix Corporation, the corporate arm of ISRO, sold images worth $7m in the global market last year.

The images beamed by five remote sensing satellites excluding TES are being received and marketed from nine international ground stations across the world.

With the success of TES, the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore will embark on manufacturing operational remote sensing satellites that can double as spy satellites.

ISRO says its programmes are civilian-related, and denies building spy satellites.

But as ISRO Chairman Dr.K.Kasturirangan said after launching TES, "It will be for civilian use consistent with our security concerns".

The 1,008kg satellite was launched from a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The 44-metre PSLV rocket hurled into polar orbit TES and two tiny satellites, one from European Space Agency and the other from Germany.

These two satellites rode piggyback on the Indian satellite.

September 9th, 2005  
hope India can send an Indian up to space soon.
September 10th, 2005  

India's 2007 mission to the moon : Chandrayaan-1

The Chandrayaan-1 mission is India's first lunar spacecraft was announced by former Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayeeon on the Indian Independence Day, August 15, 2003.

Chandrayaan in sanskrit means "Voyage to the Moon".

In 1980, India became the eighth country to launch a satellite into orbit, after the USSR (1957), US (1958), France (1965), Japan (1970), China (1970), UK (1971), and the European Space Agency (1979), and before Israel (1988) and Iraq (1989).

The India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be responible for the mission.

The launch date of the moon probe is expected to be in 2007 or 2008.
Scientific payload: approx. 55 kg, out of 523 kg spacecraft in 100 x 100 km lunar orbit. Complete funding of the project has been assured by the Government of India.

U.S., Canada, Europe and Israel have submitted proposals for payloads to be flown on Chandrayaan-1, and these will compete with Indian-built payloads. G. Madhavan Nair, head of ISRO, stated that decisions will be based on scientific merit and whether they compliment Indian experiments.

Chandrayaan-1: Mission Definition and Goal

Chardrayaan-1 is the first Indian Mission to the Moon devoted to high-resolution remote sensing of the lunar surface features in visible, near infrared, X-ray and low energy gamma ray regions. This will be accomplished using several payloads already selected for the mission. In addition a total of about 10 kg payload weight and 10 W power are earmarked for proposals, which are now solicited. The mission is proposed to be a lunar polar orbiter at an altitude of about 100 km and is planned to be launched by 2007-2008 using indigenous spacecraft and launch vehicle of ISRO. The mission is expected to have an operational life of about 2 years.

Mission Objectives :

Carry out high resolution mapping of topographic features in 3D, distribution of various minerals and elemental chemical species including radioactive nuclides covering the entire lunar surface using a set of remote sensing payloads. The new set of data would help in unravelling mysteries about the origin and evolution of solar system in general and that of the moon in particular.

Realize the mission goal of harnessing the science payloads, lunar craft and the launch vehicle with suitable ground support system including DSN station, integration and testing, launching and achieving lunar orbit of ~100 km, in-orbit operation of experiments, communication/telecommand, telemetry data reception, quick look data and archival for scientific utilization by identified group of scientists.

Specific areas of study

High resolution mineralogical and chemical imaging of permanently shadowed north and south polar regions

Search for surface or sub-surface water-ice on the moon, specially at lunar pole

Identification of chemical end members of lunar high land rocks

Chemical stratigraphy of lunar crust by remote sensing of central upland of large lunar craters, South Pole Aitken Region (SPAR) etc., where interior material may be expected

To map the height variation of the lunar surface features along the satellite track

Observation of X-ray spectrum greater than 10 keV and stereographic coverage of most of the moon's surface with 5 m resolution, to provide new insights in understanding the moon's origin and evolution

Scientific payloads selected (so far)

Terrain Mapping stereo Camera (TMC) in the panchromatic band having 5m spatial resolution and 40 km swath, to prepare a high resolution atlas of moon

A Hyper Spectral Imager (HySI) operating in 400-900nm band with a spectral resolution of 15nm and spatial resolution of 80 m with a swath of 40 km, for mineralogical mapping

A Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI), for determining accurate altitude of the spacecraft above the lunar surface for topographical mapping

A collimated Low Energy (0.5-10 keV) X-ray spectrometer (LEX) for measuring the fluorescent X-rays emanating from the lunar surface having ground spatial resolution of about 10 km, for elemental mapping of Si, Al, Mg,Ca, Fe,Ti

A Solar X-ray Monitor (SXM) in 2-10 keV energy range, for solar X-ray flux monitoring

A High Energy (10-200keV) X-ray/g-ray spectrometer (HEX) having a ground spatial resolution of approximately 20 km, for measuring 210Pb, 222Rn degassing, U, Th etc.

The spacecraft will be launched on a PSLV C5 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on the southeast coast of India in September of 2007 at the earliest.

The PSLV will inject Chandrayaan-1 into a 240 x 36000 km geosynchronous transfer orbit. After a 5.5 day lunar transfer trajectory the spacecraft will be captured into an initial 1000 km near circular orbit which will be lowered to a 200 km checkout orbit and finally into a 100 km circular polar orbit. It will stay in orbit and return data for at least two years.

India's proposed mission to the moon in 2007-8, Chanrdayaan-I will now have a component that will also land on the dusty surface of the moon. This is not an official landing mission, so the 25 kg cargo will be as an impactor.

''Echoes of the Chandrayaan lander impact will tell us a lot about the interior of the moon,'' says Manuel Grande, group leader, planets and magnetospheres group, at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, shortlisted for an experiment aboard Chandrayaan-1.

Essentially it will be dropped to the surface and ISRO will check if they can control how and where it lands on the surface. This is obviously a predecessor to future official landing missions.

‘‘I have great expectations,’’ says Paul Spudis, planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland (USA), which has been shortlisted too, for an experiment to map ice deposits at the poles of the moon. ‘‘Indian scientists, active in space science for years, are highly respected,’’ says Spudis. ‘‘The more data we get, the better.’’

‘‘This would be especially interesting if the mission overlaps the Japanese mission to place a seismometer on the surface,’’ says Grande, frequently in telecon with Bangalore scientists. ‘‘Chandrayaan-1 will carry new instrumentation, better than what has gone before.’’

Indian Space Research Organisation was progressing well on the 'moon mission' and had completed the design of the spacecraft for the project.

One of the important ground element is the deep space tracking network. A huge antenna with about 34 metre diametres is being designed in the country"ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair has said.

Here is the list of indegenously developed satellite launchers

Chandrayaan-1 moon probe

India has launched numerous satellites for india itself ( List of Sucessful launches ) and for naions like and for nations like France, Germany, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Cannada, Italy and Russia.

India is launching their own vesion of GPS called IRS in addition to taking active part in the Russian and European equivalents ............ has recently Joined the EU's Galliolo Project...........ISRO will also be launching various satellites for European and Russian space programs including Agile and GLONASS.


September 10th, 2005  
Man, SF you are on top of everything as always