India’s space agency is planning a massive launch of over 30 satellites this week, including one capable of ‘hyperspectral’ imaging

(PSLV C31 taking off. Photo source: ISRO)

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch over 30 satellites on Thursday using the PSLV C43 rocket.
  • The rocket’s payload will also include ISRO’s Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS) capable of identifying 55 spectral bands from 630 kms above ground.
  • The agency plans on applying this technology to various geological environments like agriculture, coastal zones and soil quality.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS) along with 30 other foreign commercial satellites on Thursday from the Sriharikota launch centre using the PSLV C43 rocket.

The new satellite is a big leap from the time when satellites could only capture general outlines of countries and detect weather patterns. Hyperspectral imaging — also called imaging spectroscopy or hypex imagingenables satellites to distinctly identify objects from outer space.


This trend in Earth observation allows for a high level of differentiation that’s a huge improvement over the normal optical images used in conventional satellites. Experts in earth observation have called the technology the ‘CATSCAN’ of Earth from space.

The agency plans on using this technology to help with agriculture, soil quality, coastal zones, and inland waters among other geological environments.

It’s all about the chip

Hyperspectral imaging has been around for a while but each country has its own take on how to implement it. In India’s case, the crux of hypex imaging lies in an optical imaging detector chip developed by the Space Applications Centre (SAC) and manufactured by Semi Conductor Limited (SCL).

The chip is capable of capturing images that can read upto 1,000 x 66 pixels.

(Chip on board. Photo source: ISRO)

Hyperspectral imaging consists of much narrower bands as compared to multispectral imagery.


Narrower measurement of wavelengths translates into more detailed imaging. Even in terms of scope, the former can identify 55 different spectral bands while the latter is only capable of capturing a maximum of 10 bands.

India has already experimented with imaging spectroscopy when it launched the Chandrayaan-1, which had a hyperspectral camera on board to help map out the mineral resources available on the moon.

The chairman of ISRO, K Sivan, told the Times of India, “We are going to launch HySIS at 9.59 am on November 29 from Sriharkota. Over 30 foreign satellites, including nano and mini satellites, will also be launch.”


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