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India’s Meteorological Satellites

  • Context (TH): India’s weather monitoring and warning services have been strengthened by satellites such as Kalpana-1, INSAT-3A, INSAT-3D, and INSAT-3DR.

Satellites for Monitoring Weather in India

Indian National Satellite System (INSAT)

  • The INSAT is a group of multipurpose geostationary satellites.
  • It is designed to provide various services, including telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology, and search and rescue operations.
  • INSAT-I was launched in 1982, followed by INSAT-II in 1983 and INSAT-III in 1988.
  • At present, there are two operational meteorological satellites; INSAT-3D & INSAT-3DR.
  • India gets weather updates every 15 minutes through INSAT-3D & 3DR weather satellites.



  • Launched in July 2013, owned and operated by ISRO.
  • INSAT-3D carries two instruments, INSAT-3D imager and INSAT sounder.
  • The INSAT-3D imager aims to provide accurate and higher-resolution meteorological observations.
  • The INSAT sounder is a radiometer. It was developed by ISRO specifically for the geostationary INSAT series.
  • It aims to measure temperature and humidity profiles for analysis of cloud cover and meteorological predictions.
  • The mission and its applications involve technical and scientific cooperation between India and the USA.


  • Launched in September 2016, it is the successor to INSAT-3D.
  • INSAT-3DR carries two instruments: the INSAT-3DR imager and the INSAT-3DR sounder.
  • The INSAT-3DR imager is a multispectral optical radiometer capable of image generation in six bands.
    • Visible (VIS), Short Wave Infrared (SWIR), Mid Wave Infrared (MWIR), Water Vapour (WV), Thermal Infrared-1, -2 (TIR- 1/2).
    • It aims to provide information on various parameters, namely outgoing longwave radiation, SST (Sea Surface Temperature), snow cover and cloud motion.

OCEANSAT (1,2,3)

  • It is a series of Indian Earth observation satellites designed to monitor ocean-related parameters.
  • It is part of the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite program.
  • These observations contribute to studies related to marine biology, fisheries, and climate research.


  • The Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA (SARAL) is a joint Indo-French satellite mission for oceanographic studies.
    • ALTIKA: Ka-band Altimeter
    • ARGOS: Data Collection System
  • SARAL performs altimetric measurements designed to study ocean circulation and sea surface elevation.
  • It is part of the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite program.

Megha Tropiques

  • It is an Indo-French Earth Observation Satellite which was launched in October 2011 to carry out tropical weather and climate studies.
  • The main objective of this mission is to understand the life cycle of convective systems that influence tropical weather and climate.
  • It is part of the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite program.


  • Kalpana-1 is the first dedicated meteorological satellite launched by the ISRO using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  • The satellite initially known as MetSat-1, was renamed to Kalpana-1 in memory of Kalpana Chawla.
  • MetSat-1 is a precursor to the future INSAT system that will have separate satellites for meteorology and telecommunication.
  • it has been decommissioned since 2017.
  • A radiometer is a device that measures various useful properties of radiation.
  • Solar reflectance is a ratio of the amount of solar energy reflected by a surface and the amount of solar energy incident on it.
  • Brightness temperature is the relationship between the temperature of an object and the corresponding brightness of its surface.
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