The communication satellite series, which started with the APPLE satellite, grew into a very large constellation of satellites in the INSAT and GSAT series. These satellites revolutionized the technological and economic growth of the country. The INSAT satellite system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems providing regular services in the areas of telecommunications, business & personal communication, broadcasting, and weather forecasting & meteorological services. Today, newer initiatives have been taken to expand the INSAT applications to newer areas like Tele-education, Tele-medicine, Village Resource Centre (VRC), Disaster Management Support (DMS) etc., have enabled the space technology to reach the common man in India. The INSAT system has extended the outreach to less accessible areas like North- East, other far-flung areas and islands.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made remarkable progress towards building the space infrastructure - as the community resource to leapfrog the developmental processes. The launch of INSAT system has been the major catalyst in the rapid expansion of television coverage in India apart from growing applications like DTH, Satellite News Gathering, VSATs, Internet services etc. Use of INSAT for e-governance and developmental communication applications is also fast expanding.
Disaster management support, in terms of space based critical infrastructure and services, is yet another community centric deliverable. One of the elements on which the space based Disaster Management Support (DMS) systems have been built is emergency communications systems. The DMS programme of ISRO/DOS, a convergence of space communications and remote sensing capabilities, is an effort to have technologically robust and a compatible system, which could strengthen India’s resolves towards disaster management.
Satellite Navigation service is an emerging satellite based system with commercial and strategic applications. ISRO is committed to provide the satellite based Navigation services to meet the emerging demands of the Civil Aviation requirements and to meet the user requirements of the positioning, navigation and timing based on the independent satellite navigation system. To meet the Civil Aviation requirements, ISRO is working jointly with Airport Authority of India (AAI) in establishing the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system. To meet the user requirements of the positioning, navigation and timing services based on the indigenous system, ISRO is establishing a regional satellite navigation system called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
ISRO has designed and developed indigenous systems for ground based observations of weather parameters. It includes (i) Automatic Weather Station (AWS) to providing hourly information on critical weather parameters such as pressure, temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind and radiation from remote and inaccessible areas; (ii) Agro Metrological (AGROMET) Towers to measure soil temperature, soil moisture, soil heat and net radiation, wind speed, wind direction, pressure and humidity; (iii) Flux Tower for multi-level micrometeorological observation as well as subsurface observations on soil temperature and moisture over the vegetative surfaces; (iv) Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) to monitor severe weather events such as cyclone and heavy rainfall; (v) GPS Sonde and Boundary Layer LIDAR (BLL) for observing vertical profiles of atmospheric parameters.