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Australia shows its good side from space

From February this year, Australia will have access to a new source of Earth observing satellite information from India’s remote sensing satellite, Resourcesat-1, also known as IRS-P6.

Illustrator image of Resourcesat-1 (image courtesy of www.isro.org)

Australia uses ‘public-good’ Earth observation satellite imagery to monitor changes in the land, such as tree cover for carbon budget estimation, and changes in the coastal zone. The imagery is also utilised during times of emergency response to natural hazards such as bushfire and flooding.

Geoscience Australia entered into a three-year contract with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in January to receive data from their most advanced remote sensing satellite, and will begin receiving and storing data from February 2008.

We will use our ground-stations at Alice Springs and Hobart to receive moderate resolution data from two of the cameras on board the Indian satellite: the Linear Imaging Self Scanner (LISS-3); and the Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS). The AWiFS has a resolution of 50 to 70 metres with a 740km swath, enabling repeat images to be captured on a weekly basis.

The Australian Government currently uses US Landsat satellites 5 &amp 7, but with these systems starting to fail, the new agreement with ISRO ensures the future of Australia’s Earth observation programs.