ISRO’s GEO Imaging Satellite: The Mission, Features, Failure & Upcoming Plans

Indians awaited the successful flight of GISAT-1, to celebrate another accomplishment of ISRO. GISAT-1 is the Indian imaging satellite class which is touted to be a crucial breakthrough for ISRO. On 12th August 2021 GISAT-1 launch took place at 0543 Hrs IST as per the decided schedule. For the first two stages it performed normally. But the Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen eventually. Due to this technical glitch the mission could not be completed as per the plan.

ISRO is leaving no stone unturned in making India proud with an ‘out of the world’ success. GISAT-1 will soon be rescheduled. With the help of this article, let us know in detail about GISAT-1,  its upcoming flight and ISRO’s future endeavors.

Spacecraft in the clean room before encapsulation

What is GISAT-1?

 It is the first state-of-the-art agile Earth Observation Satellite from Geostationary Orbit. Geostationary Orbit is a circular geosynchronous orbit which is 35,786 kilometers in altitude above Earth’s equator and it is following the Earth’s rotation. 

The major objectives behind GISAT-1 are:

  • To provide near real time imaging of large area regions of interest at frequent intervals GISAT-1 was planned.
  • To  monitor natural disasters.
  • To obtain views about forestry, mineralogy, disaster warning, oceanography and so on.
  • To help in obtaining spectral signatures of agriculture related areas.

Mission Description of GISAT-1

Let us know how the ‘much awaited’ mission was designed. Here are the major aspects.

  • India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-F 10 was used to launch Geo Image Satellite-1 satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
  • The launch was to take place from the Second Launch Pad.
  • GISAT-1 was the first state-of-the-art Earth Observation Satellite which was targeted to be placed in a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by GSLV-F10.
  • The satellite weighed more than 2 tones.
  • ISRO for the first time used Ogive-shaped fairing, which is a bullet-shaped pointed curved surface casing. 
  • It was supposed to reach geostationary orbit using its onboard propulsion system. 

Targeted Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit

Perigee170 km
Apogee36.297 km
Inclination19.4 degree

Salient features of GISAT-1

ISRO released following details about the significant features of GISAT-1:

Orbital Slot 85.5degree E
Lift-Off mass2268 Kg
Power Generation2280 W

Payload Imaging Sensors:

Spectral BandResolution
Multi-Spectral Visible and Near- InfraRed42m
Hyper-Spectral Visible and  Near- InfraRed318m
Hyper-Spectral Short Wave-InfraRed191m

How did the GISAT-1 launch fail?

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle suffered a technical anomaly which led to the failure of the mission. After five minutes of the flight, the final stage of the GSLV rocket failed to ignite. This eventually resulted in the complete failure. Both the rocket and payload were lost.

The success of the mission could have been a milestone for ISRO. Much of the toil was invested to keep it away from anti-satellite missiles. The high resolution cameras were put there to get the real-time and constant monitoring.

What is GSLV?

It stands for Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. GSLV can launch satellites that travel in orbits that happen to be synchronous with the Earth’s orbit. Satellites can weigh up to 2,500 kg.

The intention behind the development of GSLV was to launch INSAT-type satellites into geo-stationary orbit. This could make India less dependent on the foreign assistance.

Why do we need a state-of-the-art Earth Observation Satellite?

ISRO has highlighted these reasons behind the launch of state-of-the-art Earth Observation Satellite:

  • It can do near real-time imaging with revisits to the same region.
  • This can help in assessing the impacts of natural disasters.
  • It can aid in forestry, agriculture, oceanography, cloud properties related issues too.
  • This can help in security purposes and border-related monitoring.
  • GISAT-1 can also assist in mineralogy.
  • GISAT-1 could click the images of the entire Indian landmass 4-5 times a day.
  • It can play a crucial role in tackling disaster management related issues.

New launch date for GISAT-1

On 12 August 2021, the performance was up to the mark until the first and second stage. However, the third stage rolled after the ignition and things worsened. Afterwards telemetry lines diverged. ISRO will soon reschedule the flight to accomplish the mission. The new launch date is yet to come.

How was GISAT-1 different?

Usually, earth observation satellites are placed in Low-Earth orbit. The range is between 500-2000 Kms to ensure high-resolution imagery. But ISRO’s latest satellite was to be placed 36,000 Kms away from the earth surface in order to stay immune from Anti-Satellite missiles.

Upcoming Missions of ISRO

Apart from GISAT-1 ISRO is working tooth and nail for the accomplishment of following missions:

Planned Mission LaunchSpacecraft
Aditya L1January 2022Solar Observation
Gaganyan 1June 2022Uncrewed Spacecraft flight test
Chandrayan 32022Lunar, lander, rover
Gaganyan 22022-2023Uncrewed Spacecraft flight test


The GISAT-1 would be helping India in various sectors. From tackling and monitoring border related security issues to disaster management, it has got a lot to offer to the nation. Hopefully,  the anomaly will get fixed in near future for the successful accomplishment of the mission. The success of GISAT-1 will certainly be a turning point for ISRO.


When was the GSLV used in India?

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle is a launch system by ISRO, which has been used thirteen times in between 2001 to 2018.

Why are satellites placed in geosynchronous orbits?

A geosynchronous orbit is a high orbit. It allows satellites to match Earth’s rotation. It helps in monitoring, communications and surveillance.

What is the full form of GISAT?

GISAT is GEO IMAGING SATELLITE. It is an Imaging Satellite Class. It is meant for real time imaging. GISAT also has a fast revisiting capability to the same region.

What is a cryogenic engine?

A cryogenic engine is the last stage of space launch vehicles. In Cryogenics, the use of Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen happens. These are treated as propellants that liquify at -183 deg C and -253 deg C.

Where are cryogenic engines used?

Currently, these are used in the USA, Russia, India, France, Japan and China.

What is payload?

The load carried by the vehicle for the respective operation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.