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India to launch dozens of satellites to mitigate ‘threats’ along borders

The country’s space agency has configured at least 50 units for geo intelligence gathering to be launched in the next five years

India is planning to create a layer of satellites in different orbits capable of tracking the movement of troops and image thousands of kilometers of the areas along the borders with neighbors China and Pakistan, the Indian space agency’s chairman said on Thursday, according to PTI news agency.  

Speaking at an event at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) head Sreedhara Panicker Somanath noted that launching satellites on a larger scale could mitigate threats arising from the borders.  

We have been launching satellites to handle this, but there is a different way of thinking now and we need to look at it in a much more critical manner because the power of [any] nation is the ability to understand what is happening around it,“ Somanath said, according to PTI. He added that 50 satellites have already been configured and could be launched in the next five years for developing the geo-intelligence capability.  


India’s present satellite fleet of 54 is not enough to realize its aspiration of becoming a “strong nation” – it needs ten times more satellites than it has today, Somanath. He added that it was also important to improve the ability of satellites in order to detect changes along the borders and integrate more of an AI-related and data-driven approach to analyzing data and parsing only essential information.  

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Revealing how a layer of satellites can be established, Somanath said “we have found out a way by which a layer of satellites can be launched starting from GEO [geostationary equatorial orbit] to LEO [lower earth orbit] and also [in] very low earth orbit where we need a very critical assessment of some situation.” By establishing communication between these satellites, he explained, the country can track activities in strategically vital areas more effectively.   

The space agency is set to begin the new year with the launch of the PSLV-C58 X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) space observatory on January 1 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota Island on the Bay of Bengal. XPoSat is India’s first polarimetry mission, which seeks to study bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions. The satellite, along with ten other payloads, will be launched by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. “The mission’s objectives include measuring X-ray polarization and conducting long-term spectral and temporal studies of cosmic X-ray sources,” an ISRO official told Times of India newspaper.  


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In 2023, ISRO launched several breakthrough missions, including the Chandrayaan-3 probe to the Moon’s south pole in August and the Aditya-L1 mission to the Sun in September. In October, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set new goals for the agency of setting up a space station by 2035 and sending the first Indian to the Moon by 2040.

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