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ISRO to launch earth observation satellite EOS-01, nine international customer satellites on Saturday
New Delhi, November 6, 2020
The countdown began today for tomorrow's launch of India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) with earth observation satellite EOS-01 on board as the primary satellite along with nine international customer satellites.
EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
The launch is scheduled at 1502 hours tomorrow from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, subject to weather conditions, and the 26-hour countdown began at 1302 hours today.
The customer satellites -- four each from the United States and Luxembourg andone from Lithuania -- are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), Department of Space.
This will be PSLV's 51st mission. The launch will take place with strict COVID-19 pandemic protocols in place, ISRO said.
Among other things, media personnel will not be present and the launch viewing gallery will be closed.
The live telecast of the launch will be available on ISRO's website, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels.
The proposed launch will be the first space mission for ISRO from India in 2020.
On January 17, 2020, India's telecommunication satellite, the 3,357 kg GSAT-30 -- a replacement for INSAT-4A, was successfully launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) from Kourou launch base in French Guyana by an Ariane rocket.
The primary passenger of the 44.5 metre tall PSLV-C49 will be the Indian radar imaging satellite EOS-01 (formerly RISAT-2BR2) with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can shoot pictures in all-weather conditions.
The satellite can take pictures day and night and will be useful for surveillance as well as civilian activities.
The nine foreign satellites that would piggyback are from: Lithuania (1-technology demonstrator), Luxembourg (4 maritime application satellites by Kleos Space) and the US (4-Lemur multi mission remote sensing satellites).
This time around, ISRO will be using the PSLV rocket's DL variant that will have two strap-on booster motors.
This rocket variant was used the first time to put the Microsat R satellite into orbit on January 24, 2019.
The PSLV is a four stage/engine rocket powered by solid and liquid fuels alternatively with six booster motors strapped on to the first stage to give higher thrust during the initial flight moments.
After PSLV-C49, the next one to fly will be PSLV-C50 with the GSAT-12R satellite. It will fly from the second launch pad, S. Somanath, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), had told IANS earlier.
"We are targeting PSLV-C50 sometime in December. It needs about 30 days to get ready for another launch after one launch," Somanath had said.
The other Indian satellites that are ready for launch are GISAT, Microsat-2A and GSAT-12R.
The launch of the GISAT-1 satellite slated for March 5 this year was postponed due to technical reasons a day before the launch.
"The GISAT-1 satellite will be carried by a GSLV rocket. The GSLV rocket was dismantled after the launch was called off. The rocket is being refurbished. The rocket's cryogenic engine has been brought down and it is being readied again," Somanath had said.
According to him, the GSLV carrying GISAT-1 is expected to fly after PSLV-C50.
Somanath also said that the ISRO has developed a Virtual Launch Control Centre to test the rocket systems at the rocket port in Sriharikota remotely from the Thiruvananthapuram-based VSSC.
"With Covid-19 pandemic prevailing, the Indian space agency in order to reduce the number of people travelling to Sriharikota, has developed a Virtual Launch Control Centre at VSSC. As a result, the testing of various rocket systems is being done at VSSC," Somanath had told IANS.
The physical launch control centre is located in the building, housing the Mission Control Centre in Sriharikota and the systems there have been replicated at the VSSC in the form of a virtual launch control centre.