Indian Space Research Organisation will launch the first satellite of this year from Sriharikota at 3.02pm on November 7 when its PSLV-C49 rocket will lift off with an earth observation (surveillance) satellite of Risat series codenamed ‘EOS-01’ and nine foreign commercial satellites from the first launchpad, subject to weather conditions. This will be Isro’s first satellite launch amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has slowed down all space activities since March. The agency is also gearing up for the much awaited first demonstration test of its new rocket Small Satellite Launch Vehicle or mini-PSLV by December.
In view of the strict Covid-19 norms in place at the launch centre, Isro will keep the launch viewing gallery closed this time and will not allow gathering of media personnel either.
EOS-01 is an advanced series of the earth observation Risat satellite whose synthetic aperture radar has an all-weather and day-and-night observation capability. It can also see through clouds. This new ‘eye in the sky’ will boost the military’s surveillance capability from space and help the security forces keep a hawk eye on the borders amid the LAC troop stand-off with China. Besides its surveillance role, EOS-01 will also be used for civil applications like in agriculture, forestry, soil moisture, geology, coastal monitoring and flood monitoring.
Soon after the PSLV-C49 mission, Isro is targeting to launch PSLV-C50 mission carrying GSAT-12R communication satellite in December.
However, the much-awaited launch of the first SSLV by December will generate a lot of interests among space enthusiasts as this is a vehicle-on-demand made especially for satellite customers. Post-PSLV-C49 launch, the first launchpad set-up has to be reconfigured to suit the shorter SSLV launch. The test on the SSLV motor is scheduled for November.
An SSLV will have a three stage engine rocket all powered by solid fuel.
The mini-launcher can be assembled in just 3-5 days as compared to 30-40 days for a normal-size rocket.