Sensor resolutions in IRS and Landsat missions in GIS & RS

In this article, we will discuss Sensor resolutions in IRS and Landsat missions in GIS & RS.

IRS missions

•India began the development of an indigenous IRS program through the experimental launching of Bhaskara-1 and Bhaskara-2 – in 1979 and 1981respectivelly. The experimental Earth observation satellites were developed and built by ISRO.

•   At the starting of the 21st century, India has two very capable launch systems namely PSLV and GSLV. Before it, India would have been dependent on USSR for satellite launching. IRS-1A and 1B were launched by Russian Vostok boosters from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

•For the observation and management of the country’s natural resources such as agriculture, hydrology, geology, drought, and flood monitoring, marine studies, snow studies, and land use, India has achieved to provide a long-term spaceborne operational capability. It is happened due to the IRS is the integrated LEO (Low Earth Orbit) element of India’s NNRMS (National Natural Resources Management System).

Points to remember for IRS Mission

•The Indian National Satellite System or INSAT is a series of multipurpose geostationary satellites or GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbit) elements.

•The INSAT system is launched by ISRO to satisfy the telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology, resource searching, rescue operations, and earth observation functions.

•The first-generation satellites IRS-1A and 1B were designed, developed, and launched successfully during 1988 and 1991.

•IRS-1A and 1B launched with multispectral cameras with spatial resolutions of 72.5 m and 36 m, respectively.

•IRS-P3 satellite which is flying MOS (Multispectral Optoelectronic Scanner) for the measurement of ocean color.

•The IRS-P4 mission is collecting information on ocean monitoring. 

• IRS-1C and 1D are collecting data for cartographic and town planning applications.

Fig.1 IRS related abbreviation
Fig 2 1st five satellites in IRS
FIg.3 Next four Satellite in IRS
Fig.4 Last four satellites in IRS

Landsat mission

The Landsat mission is the longest-running enterprise for the acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. It is a joint NASA/USGS program. The Department of the Interior, NASA, and the Department of Agriculture jointly effort to develop and launch the first civilian Earth observation satellite. On July 23, 1972, with the launch of the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1), which was later renamed Landsat 1 the goal was achieved. After that, the series of Landsat satellite launches with the time up to Landsat 8 in 2013.  The Landsat 9 satellite is being developed now.

The common characteristic of the satellites:

  1. Orbits are sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit (1st three are 99.2 degrees inclination and others are 98.2 degrees inclination)

2. The heights of the satellites are 1st three are about 900km and others 705km.

3. The swath of the satellites is 185 km. 

4. Repeat cycles of the satellites are for 1st three  18 days and others are 16 days.

5. Equatorial crossing time is for 1st and 3rd  9:30 am, 3rd is 9:45 am, and for others, it is 10:00 a.m. +/- 15 minutes.

6. Orbital period for 1st three is 103.34 minutes and the others are 99 minutes.

Spatial and spectral resolution in Landsat

Landsat 1 to 3 carried the RBV Band and MSS.

Landsat 4 and 5 carried both the MSS and TM instruments.

Landsat 6 uses the PAN & Enhanced Thematic Mapper.

Landsat 7 uses the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus ETM+ scanner.

Landsat 8 uses two instruments, the OLI for optical bands and the TIRS for thermal bands. We represent the details about the Mission on the next three tables. 

Fig.5 Landsat related abbreviation
Fig. 6 1st three satellites in Landsat
Fig. 7 Landsat 4 & 5
Fig. 8 Last four satellites in Landsat


Here are the videos on the above topics.

Sensor resolutions in IRS and Landsat missions in GIS & RS part 1Click On Me
Sensor resolutions in IRS and Landsat missions in GIS & RS part 2Click On Me

Questions for Homework:

Q1 Discuss the different types of sensor resolutions with examples and sketches.

Q2. Writ Short note on a) IRS 1C, b) IRS P6 c) Landsat 4 and d) Landsat 8.

Q3. Compare the IRS & Landsat Mission.


This is the complete discussion on the topic, Sensor resolutions in IRS and Landsat missions in GIS & RS. If you have any doubts feel free to contact us by filling up the form on the contact page, or you might comment below your doubts we will surely clarify them.

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