India’s First Private Spy Satellite Ready for Launch

As per latest reports, India’s  first dedicated surveillance satellite constructed entirely by a domestic company, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), is slated to launch from a SpaceX rocket by April 2024. It would provide Indian defence agencies an independent imagery intelligence gathering system.

Indigenous Satellite for Armed Forces

The electro-optical spy satellite has been assembled by Tata Advanced Systems Limited to meet specific imagery reconnaissance requirements of the armed forces who currently rely on foreign satellite inputs or expensive data purchases from overseas vendors.
It will provide imagery with 0.5-metre spatial resolution.

Maiden Launch from Foreign Soil

Unlike previous Indian remote sensing satellites that lift off from Sriharikota spaceport, the private surveillance spacecraft would mark India’s maiden orbital launch from international soil by getting injected aboard a SpaceX rocket from Florida space coast complex.

Enabling Domestic Military Space Capability

The satellite fills a crucial self-reliance gap on strategic space assets creation front catalyzed by India’s startups ecosystem. Its 2024 scheduled launch highlights determination for sovereign space-based military capability backed by industry capacity, sans traditional reliance on Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Complementing Ground Image Data Analysis

A dedicated satellite imagery receiving and analysis facility set up jointly by TASL and Latin American company Satellogic will also be ready in Bengaluru which would guide the satellite, process pictures and disseminate intelligence to authorized defence and government consumers once operational.

Meeting Increasing User Needs

Besides boosting defence coverage, additional surveillance satellites are required considering extensive demand from domestic geospatial agencies, given limitations in revisit times and wide area monitoring posed by a solitary sub-meter resolution imaging satellite operated currently by ISRO with reliance on supplementary foreign inputs.

Role of ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also has satellites that can help share the imagery but their application is only limited. India currently uses US companies to get the necessary spy data.
ISRO recently launched its meteorological satellite INSAT-3DS aboard spacecraft GSLV F14 from the Sriharikota spaceport. It will study weather forecasts and natural disaster warnings.
ISRO has also been involved with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), for developing a Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite to study the Earth.

About TASL

Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, is the strategic Aerospace and Defence arm of the TATA Group. With its primary defence role, the satellite imagery can also be exported to friendly countries.  The Bengaluru plant is capable of producing 25 such low earth orbit satellites in a year, which could put together an entire constellation in space within a short time.


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