Updated: August 11, 2021 11:20:43 pm
The launch of EOS-03 — part of a new generation of earth observation satellites — in the early hours of Thursday will likely mark the end of the Covid-triggered lull in India’s space sector as ISRO plans a string of launches in the coming months.
This is the first major launch by ISRO this year; it launched 18 small, mainly foreign, satellites in February.
EOS-03, which is capable of imaging the entire country four to five times every day, is riding on a GSLV rocket (GSLV-F10), which has a new payload carrier designed to significantly reduce aerodynamic drag and thus carry larger payloads.
The rocket will deposit the satellite in the geostationary transfer orbit, from where the satellite’s onboard propulsion system will guide it to a geostationary orbit, 36,000 km from earth’s surface.
EOS-03 is meant to provide almost real-time images of large parts of the country and will be used for monitoring water bodies, crops, vegetation, forest cover, and natural disasters such as floods and cyclones.
EOS-03 is being sent ahead of EOS-02 which has been delayed by the pandemic. EOS-02 was supposed to ride on ISRO’s new SSLV (Small Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket. SSLVs will broaden ISRO’s current rocket range that comprises PSLVs and GSLVs, and cater to the increasing demand for launching of small commercial satellites.
EOS-02 was supposed to be launched around March-April this year, but now has been rescheduled for September-October. At least four more launches are expected by the end of this year, including the launch of two more earth observation satellites.
In November last year, ISRO had launched EOS-01, the first in the series of new earth observation satellites that bear a new generic naming system. Earlier, the satellites were named according to the specific purpose they were supposed to serve, even though they all were earth observation satellites. ISRO launched a series comprising Cartosa, Risat, Oceansat and the like. All such satellites are being named EOS.
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