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ISRO to make 6 month old satellite data available for free


The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chairman AS Kiran Kumar has announced that the agency plans to make satellite data as recent as 6 months old, available to users for free. As of now, the agency only allows access to data 2 years and older for free.

It’s not clear which satellite data ISRO means, but it’s presumably data from all its satellites, including the Mars Orbiter, information from which is pretty scant. The agency currently has Bhuvan, which is updated regularly based on satellite data, although the agency does not make it clear how regular these updates are. In contrast, NASA offers Worldview which features global imagery from various satellites, based on various parameters, within hours of acquiring it.

The state of India’s space agency is abysmal. In October last year, NASA started offering 1,200 patents to US startups with no upfront licensing costs. These included patents in various verticals including aeronautics, communications, instrumentation, electrical, health & biotechnology, optics etc. In stark contrast, the ISRO has “more than 270 patents, 45 copyrights and 10 trademarks” and a few technology offerings for the industry.

Bhuvan update: In 2014, ISRO updated the Bhuvan platform to have a 3D globe, akin to Google Earth. At the time, the agency also added state viewer, landslide warnings and other features. In 2013, the agency also launched an app for the platform.

ISRO Antrix court case: In October, Devas Multimedia, a Deutsche Telekom backed Mobile TV company, set up in partnership with ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix, was awarded $672 million in damages by an International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration. ISRO, which provided ‘national security’ as the reason for the termination of the agreement, was set to appeal the judgement.

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