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Applications

India uses its satellites communication network – one of the largest in the world – for applications such as land management, water resources management, natural disaster forecasting, radio networking, weather forecasting, meteorological imaging and computer communication.[49] Business, administrative services, and schemes such as the National Informatics Centre (NICNET) are direct beneficiaries of applied satellite technology.[50] Dinshaw Mistry—on the subject of practical applications of the Indian space program—writes: The INSAT-2 satellites also provide telephone links to remote areas; data transmission for organizations such as the National Stock Exchange; mobile satellite service communications for private operators, railways, and road transport; and broadcast satellite services, used by India’s state-owned television agency as well as commercial television channels. India’s EDUSAT (Educational Satellite), launched aboard the GSLV in 2004, was intended for adult literacy and distance learning applications in rural areas. It augmented and would eventually replace such capabilities already provided by INSAT-3B. The IRS satellites have found applications with the Indian Natural Resource Management program, with regional Remote Sensing Service Centers in five Indian cities, and with Remote Sensing Application Centers in twenty Indian states that use IRS images for economic development applications. These include environmental monitoring, analyzing soil erosion and the impact of soil conservation measures, forestry management, determining land cover for wildlife sanctuaries, delineating groundwater potential zones, flood inundation mapping, drought monitoring, estimating crop acreage and deriving agricultural production estimates, fisheries monitoring, mining and geological applications such as surveying metal and mineral deposits, and urban planning. India’s satellites and satellite launch vehicles have had military spin-offs. While India’s 93–124 mile (150–250 km) range Prithvi missile is not derived from the Indian space program, the intermediate range Agni missile is drawn from the Indian space program’s SLV-3. In its early years, when headed by Vikram Sarabhai and Satish Dhawan, ISRO opposed military applications for its dual-use projects such as the SLV-3. Eventually, however, the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO)–based missile program borrowed human resources and technology from ISRO. Missile scientist A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (elected president of India in 2002), who had headed the SLV-3 project at ISRO, moved to DRDO to direct India’s missile program. About a dozen scientists accompanied Abdul Kalam from ISRO to DRDO, where Abdul Kalam designed the Agni missile using the SLV-3’s solidfuel first stage and a liquid-fuel (Prithvi-missile-derived) s cond stage. The IRS and INSAT satellites were primarily intended and used for civilian-economic applications, but they also offered military spin-offs. In 1996 New Delhi’s Ministry of Defence temporarily blocked the use of IRS-1C by India’s environmental and agricultural ministries in order to monitor ballistic missiles near India’s borders. In 1997 the Indian air force’s “Airpower Doctrine” aspired to use space assets for surveillance and battle management.[51] Institutions like the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the Indian Institute of Technology use satellites for scholarly applications.[52] Between 1975 and 1976, India conducted its largest sociological program using space technology, reaching 2400 villages through video programming in local languages aimed at educational development via ATS-6 technology developed by NASA.[53] This experiment—named Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE)—conducted large scale video broadcasts resulting in significant improvement in rural education.[53] ISRO has applied its technology to "telemedicine", directly connecting patients in rural areas to medical professionals in urban locations via satellites.[52] Since high-quality healthcare is not universally available in some of the remote areas of India, the patients in remote areas are diagnosed and analyzed by doctors in urban centres in real time via video conferencing.[52] The patient is then advised medicine and treatment.[52] The patient is then treated by the staff at one of the 'super-specialty hospitals' under instructions from the doctor.[52] Mobile telemedicine vans are also deployed to visit locations in far-flung areas and provide diagnosis and support to patients.[52] ISRO has also helped implement India's Biodiversity Information System, completed in October 2002.[54] Nirupa Sen details the program: "Based on intensive field sampling and mapping using satellite remote sensing and geospatial modelling tools, maps have been made of vegetation cover on a 1 : 250,000 scale. This has been put together in a web-enabled database which links gene-level information of plant species with spatial information in a BIOSPEC database of the ecological hot spot regions, namely northeastern India, Western Ghats, Western Himalayas and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This has been made possible with collaboration between the Department of Biotechnology and ISRO."[54] The Indian IRS-P5 (CARTOSAT-1) was equipped with high-resolution panchromatic equipment to enable it for cartographic purposes.[7] IRS-P5 (CARTOSAT-1) was followed by a more advanced model named IRS-P6 developed also for agricultural applications.[7] The CARTOSAT-2 project, equipped with single panchromatic camera which supported scene-specific on-spot images, succeed the CARTOSAT-1 project.

 
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