Maritime Surveillance Satellites

#GS3 #Science&Technology #Environment #Pollution

French space agency CNES announced that the constellation of maritime surveillance satellites that will be jointly launched by India and France will be able to trace illegal spillage of oil by ships in the Indian Ocean Region. 

  • The satellites have been designed by a joint team of ISRO and CNES. They will now enter their development phases in the coming months.  The monitoring centre for the satellites will be based out of India. 


Key Objective

  • The main purpose of the satellites will be to trace illegal spillage of oil by ships.


Key Highlights 

  • The Indian Space Research Agency (ISRO) and French Space Agency (CNES) had in August 2019 committed to developing and building a constellation of satellites carrying telecommunications and radar and optical remote-sensing instruments.
  • The constellation of satellites will constitute the first space-based system in the world that is capable of tracking ships continuously. The parts of the satellites will be developed in both India and France and will be launched from India.
  • The revisit capability of the satellites will make it possible to task acquisitions several times a day. It will also be able to detect oil slicks and trace their source.
  • The satellites will be operated jointly by India and France. The system, covering a wide belt around the globe, will help the two nations in monitoring the ships in the Indian Ocean Region.


Other ISRO-CNES collaborations

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) along with CNES is also jointly operating various climate-monitoring satellites.



  • One such satellite is 'Trishna', which is a highly precise thermal infrared observer, will also be part of the fleet of Indo-French satellites that will be launched. The satellite is now set to enter its development phases in the coming months after a successful design phase led by a joint team of ISRO-CNES.
  • The satellite will provide continuous thermal monitoring at high resolution. Its unmatched capabilities will help serve precious applications ranging from sustainable agriculture to drought forecasting and monitoring of urban heat islands.



  • India and France are also collaborating for India's first manned mission to space- the Gaganyaan mission.


Venus Mission

  • The French space agency (CNES) is also collaborating with ISRO for its Venus mission - Shukrayaan-1 -in 2023.
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