ISRO Helping India in Various New Ways

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) headquartered at Karnataka's Bengaluru has matured as a symbol of the country's sophisticated technological capabilities and its growing regional and global prestige. ISRO had a very humble beginning in the early 1960s.

Primary objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and application programmes to meet the developmental needs of India. To meet this objective ISRO has two major operational systems one - the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) for telecommunication, television broadcasting, and meteorological services and two - the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) for monitoring and management of natural resources and Disaster Management Support.

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From early pilot projects in 1970s ISRO is now directing getting involved with various government bodies to help meet their needs and improve their services. Here is what in very recent times ISRO has been doing to help Indian live a better life:

ISRO for forewarning of natural disasters

ISRO is carrying out the following pilot projects in the Himalayan region on experimental basis to develop methodology for enabling forewarning of natural disasters.

1. Heavy Rainfall/ cloud burst alerts for western Himalaya: Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO has developed a model, for heavy rainfall or cloud burst alerts, which is being experimentally carried out for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh regions. The information is made available on ISRO's MOSDAC (Meteorological & Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) website.

2. Rainfall triggered landslide alerts for the Uttarakhand Region: An experimental early warning system for rainfall triggered landslides is developed for use along the pilgrimage route corridors leading to Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath as well as along the Pithoragarh-Malpa route in Uttarakhand. The forewarning is generated based on the statistical relation between the terrain (geological, morphological) and temporal (primarily long term rainfall events) factors.

3. Flood Early Warning System for Assam State: The North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) of ISRO has developed the Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS) as a Research & Development (R&D) project in Assam State in association with Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). FLEWS, is a terrain-specific model, which employs satellite based inputs, in-situ data on rainfall and river discharge data at critical locations to provide advance information on flood events as an input to disaster preparedness. The FLEWS model is being used in all 25 flood prone districts of Assam.

4. Snow-melt run-off: ISRO has developed snow melt runoff models for Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Yamuna, Sutlej, Beas and Chenab basins to provide information on short-term (16 day) snow melt runoff during summer months i.e. April to June.

ISRO joins hands with Indian Railways:

Aiming at effective use of space technology in remote sensing and graphic information system (GIS) based applications, Railways is set to join hands with ISRO.

An MoU has been signed between Railways and ISRO, under Department of Space for developing applications in the field of remote sensing and GIS.

The MoU will enable use of space technology tools in providing passenger information for all trains, indicating next station or stoppage, real-time train-tracking, survey of new rail route alignments particularly in hilly and difficult terrains.

It will also aid in conducting track vulnerability studies, mapping of assets, audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossing gates and introduction of web-enabled rail user-centric services.

Currently, Railways is using space technology for providing connectivity to Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters and unreserved ticketing system at remote and non-rail head locations.

Besides this, the technology is used for emergency communication using satellite phones from disaster sites, Global Positioning System (GPS) for various applications like remote monitoring of locomotives, passenger information system in Mumbai suburban trains and synchronised clocks and WiFi facility in select Rajdhani Express trains.

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