ISRO’s INSAT-3A and KALPANA-1 satellites carry Data Relay Transponders, which can receive data from remote platforms deployed on ground, water bodies or sea. Meteorological application of this satellite based data relay is one of the important applications. With data collection from local levels and remote and inaccessible areas through AWS, weather forecasts and services can be improved significantly. The weather information collected through AWS could also be disseminated through the Village Resources Centres, being set up by ISRO in cooperation with NGOs and other agencies.

Development of an Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) was taken up by ISRO with the participation of Indian industry and the prototype has been successfully demonstrated. Today (March 18, 2005), an agreement was signed by Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Department of Space with a private company, M/s Astra Microwave Products Limited, Hyderabad, for production and supply of AWS to be deployed in various parts of the country. Mr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO, was present during the brief signing ceremony held at Antariksh Bhavan, Bangalore, the headquarters of ISRO and Antrix Corporation.

The low-cost AWS is compact, modular, rugged and capable of operating with minimum power from battery and solar panel for extended periods in the field conditions even in remote areas where power supply and communication are not available. AWS can continuously record weather data like temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction, rainfall, relative humidity, solar radiation, etc. The data from a large number of Automatic Weather Stations located across the country could be collected through the Data Relay Transponder on board the ISRO’s INSAT satellites. AWS features include easy programming of sensors, front panel display, archival of one-year data and communication options — via INSAT, telephone, modem, cellular telephone, etc. A GPS integrated with AWS provides accurate time for transmission of data.

As per the Agreement signed today, Astra Microwave Products Ltd, will productionise and deploy AWS in the country based on the requirement of the user agencies.