Upcoming Satellite Launches by ISRO
Indian Space Research Organization has planned to launch seven satellites in the year 2021. 4 out of 7 satellites are Earth observation satellites including one for ocean study and another one will join the constellation of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. Once launched, these satellites will provide critical data that have applications in agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, ocean resources, and disaster management.
The Indian space agency is also planning to launch ‘Gaganyaan’, which is a demonstrator satellite aimed to send humans into space. Let us have a closer look at these satellites, when are they planned to launch, and once in orbit, what services they will provide.
EOS-3 or GISAT 1 is an Earth observation satellite that was scheduled to be launched in March 2021 but got postponed due to unknown reasons. The new date for launch is still to be announced. The satellite will be launched onboard the GSLV-F10 rocket which is the largest launch vehicle made by India. EOS-3 will be launched from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh spaceport, and will be positioned in the geostationary orbit almost 36,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface over the equator. For this purpose, an onboard propulsion system will be used. The total weight of GISAT -1 is 2268 kilograms. EOS-3 will have Multispectral Imager operating in the Visible, Near Infra-Red, and Hyper Spectral Imager operating in the visible, near infra-red, and short-wave infrared bands. It will allow the country to monitor the Indian landmass and the oceans, particularly its borders continuously. It will also help in obtaining spectral signatures of agriculture, forestry, mineralogy, etc., and will also help in disaster management by delivering the regular warning, cloud properties, snow and glacier, and oceanography.
EOS-04 is a repeat satellite of RISAT-1 and is configured to ensure continuity of Synthetic Aperture Radar in C-Band providing microwave data to the user community for operational services. The satellite can operate in day, night, and all-weather conditions with a mission life of 5 years. It is a radar imaging remote sensing satellite scheduled to be launched in May-June 2021. The final date of the launch is still to be announced. Designed and developed by ISRO the satellite will be the 6th series of RISAT satellite. It will be launched on Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Sriharikota spaceport. The total weight of the satellite is 1858 Kilograms. The satellite will provide useful data about soil moisture, vegetation, multi-purpose imagery, ocean topography, ice sheet topography, snow cover, edge and depth, sea ice cover, edge, and thickness of Indian territory.
Scheduled to be launched in October 2021 Oceansat-3 will join the constellation of Oceansat and Oceansat-2 that was launched on May 26, 1999, and September 23, 2009, respectively. Once the Oceansat-3 will be in orbit it will provide service stability for the operational users of Ocean Color Monitor data received from its predecessor satellites Oceansat and Oceansat-2. The planned constellation is a global mission that will provide wind vectors and characterization of the lower atmosphere and ionosphere. The data provided by the satellite will enhance the operational services like identifying potential fishery zones, sea surface temperature measurement, etc. The satellite will also improve the revisit of ocean color measurements to every 24 hours and wind vector measurements to every 12 hours. Oceansat 3 will have a 13 band Ocean Color Monitor in 400-1010 nanometer range of visible and near infrared with 360m spatial resolution and 1400km swath for Ocean Color monitoring. It will also have a Ku-Band Pencil beam scatterometer with a ground resolution of 50 km × 50 km for continuity of wind vector data for cyclone forecasting and numerical weather modeling.
NVS-01 or IRNSS1J will join the constellation of planned 8 satellites of India’s navigation system named ‘Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System’ (IRNSS) also known as NavIC. The satellite is expected to be launched in November 2021 onboard GSLV-MK2 F-14. It is a replacement for IRNSS-1G that was launched on 28th April 2016 which is being used for short messaging service. NVS-01 is under development and once launched the Indian space agency is planning to launch NVS-2, NVS-03, NVS-04, and NVS-05. These satellites will be positioned at the existing orbital slots and ensure continuity of NaVIC services. Like existing IRNSS satellites, NVS 01 will be configured with navigation payloads in L5 and S bands and ranging payloads in C-band. For better delivery of data, it is also proposed to incorporate a new interoperable civil signal in L1 frequency in the navigation payload. The planned constellation will provide data for terrestrial, aerial, and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking, and fleet management, integration with mobile phones, visual and voice navigation for drivers, precise timing and mapping, and geodetic data capture.
The Government of India is giving huge impetus to the development India’s space sector capabilities. The satellites scheduled to be launched by the Indian Space Research Organization will provide crucial data in diversified spatial, spectral, and temporal resolutions that will accelerate the pace for various development projects. The imagery from these satellites will aid in sectors like agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, environment, forestry, ocean resources, navigation, and disaster management.
Satellites scheduled to be launched this year are different also because they are completely based on indigenous technology, in line with India’s mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat.