ISRO to set up its first ground base at North Pole: all you need to know

by Elton Gomes

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has drawn up plans to set up its first overseas ground station at the North Pole. The base will primarily be developed to augment the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) operations, which are crucial for civilian needs and for the armed forces.

ISRO has a full-fledged IRS programme with a constellation of earth observation satellites, with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad responsible for data acquisition and processing, data dissemination, aerial remote sensing and decision support for disaster management.

“So far as the station at North Pole goes, ISRO is serious about it. But the plan will take some time to materialise as it involves huge logistical challenges, international approvals and co-operation. But we will surely have it,” one scientist said, the Times of India reported. The scientist further said that installation of hardware can be a difficult task in the North Pole. Given the region’s extreme weather conditions, ISRO will be up against a number of challenges.

Explaining the need for 14-orbit coverage, another scientist said that with the advancements in high-resolution satellite programs of IRS, the complexity and role of ground stations have increased in numerous ways. “High-resolution satellites need frequent visibilities with larger processing power, data storage capacity onboard, data downlink of stored image to ground stations for meeting the global and Indian user requirements,” the scientist said, as per the Times of India report.

Establishing a second data reception antenna in Antarctica

ISRO was supposed to develop a second data reception antenna at AGEOS in Antarctica this year. However, the space agency has said that it will only be able to do it sometime next year.

The scientists said, “The proposal was to set up a second data reception antenna system to support reception from two specific projects immediately and future ones later,” as per the Times of India. They added that there has been some delay in establishing the data reception antenna and that it would be completed by 2019.

The Indian Antarctic Programme

The Indian Antarctic Programme began in 1981 on January 9. The programme marked the beginning of more than 30 excursions of the Antarctic region carried out by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research of India.

A team of 21-member was selected to partake in the programme that was under the leadership of Dr S. Z. Qasim, Secretary of Department of Environment and former Director of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO). The programme was carried out with the aim of conducting scientific research on the frozen continent. Under the environmental protocol of the Antarctic Treaty (passed in the year 1959), India has managed to set up three research stations in the icy continent.

Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius

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