General Studies IIIScience and Tech

ISRO Launched Earth observation satellite EOS-04 and two small satellites


Recently, Indian Space Research Organisation’s earth observation satellite EOS-04 and two small satellites (INSPIREsat-1 and INS-2TD) were successfully placed into the intended orbit by the PSLV-C52 rocket.

What is EOS-04 all about?

  • The EOS-04 is fourth in a series of earth observation satellites that are being launched under a new generic name.
  • EOS-04 weighing 1,710 kg and with a mission life of ten years 
  • It will complement the data from ResourcesatCartosat and RISAT-2B series of satellites that are already in orbit
  • It is designed to provide high-quality images for applications such as agriculture, forestry and plantations, flood mapping, soil moisture and hydrology.
  • It will complement the data from Resourcesat, Cartosat and RISAT-2B series of satellites that are already in orbit.
  • It will be placed in a sun synchronous polar orbit of 529 km, is a radar-imaging satellite which would have made it a part of the RISAT series earlier.
  • In fact, it would replace the RISAT-1 which was launched in 2012 but has been non-functional for the last few years.
  • RISATs use synthetic aperture radars to produce high-resolution images of the land.
  • One big advantage that radar imaging has over optical instruments is that it is unaffected by weather, cloud or fog, or the lack of sunlight.
  • It can produce high-quality images in all conditions and at all times, making it suitable for surveillance.
  • Why such different nomenclature?

  • Two years ago, ISRO had moved to a new naming system for its earth observation satellites which till then had been named thematically, according to the purpose they were meant for.
  • The Cartosat series of satellites were meant to provide data for land topography and mapping, while the Oceansat satellites were meant for observations over sea.
  • Some INSAT-series, Resourcesat series, GISAT, Scatsat, and a few other earth observation satellites were named differently for the specific jobs they were assigned to do, or the different instruments that they.
  • All these would now become part of the new EOS series of satellites.

What are Earth Observation Satellites?

  • Earth observation satellites are the satellites equipped with remote sensing technology. Earth observation is the gathering of information about Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems.
  • Many earth observation satellites have been employed on sun-synchronous orbit.
  • Other earth observation satellites launched by ISRO include RESOURCESAT- 2, 2A, CARTOSAT-1, 2, 2A, 2B, RISAT-1 and 2, OCEANSAT-2, Megha-Tropiques, SARAL and SCATSAT-1, INSAT-3DR, 3D, etc.

Other Two Satellites

In addition to EOS-04, two other satellites namely INSPIREsat-1 and INST-2TD were injected successfully into a sun-synchronous polar orbit. Key Details about these satellites are given below-

  • INS-2DT technology demonstrator satellite: It has a thermal imaging camera.
    • Application: It can help in the assessment of land and water surface temperatures apart from mapping vegetation.
  • InspireSat-1 satellite: It was developed by the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, University of Colorado, US, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, and National Central University in Taiwan.
    • Application: This satellite will use two instruments to study ionosphere dynamics and the Sun’s coronal heating proces

Other Expected ISRO Missions of 2022

  • Three satellites OCEANSAT-3, INS-2B, ANAND will be launched aboard PSLV-C53 in March and Micro SAT onboard Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in April this year.
  • The launch of GSAT-24 which is a communication satellite is also scheduled during the first quarter of 2022 aboard the Arianespace’s Ariane 5.

How many satellites does India have currently in space?

India currently has 53 operational satellites, of which 21 are earth observation ones and another 21 are communication-based. The other eight are navigation satellites while the remaining three are science satellites.

About Small Satellite Launch Vehicle:

  • The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (or SSLV) is a small-lift launch vehicle being developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
  • Its payload capacity to deliver 600 kg (1,300 lb) to low Earth orbit (500 km (310 mi)) or 300 kg (660 lb) to Sun-synchronous orbit (500 km (310 mi)) for launching small satellites, with the capability to support multiple orbital drop-offs.
  • The smallest vehicle weighing only 110-tonne. It will take only 72 hours to integrate, unlike the 70 days taken now for a launch vehicle.
  • SSLV is a three-stage all solid vehicle
  • It is perfectly suited for launching multiple microsatellites at a time and supports multiple orbital drop-offs.
  • The key features of SSLV are low cost, with low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, launch on demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc.
  • On 21 December 2018, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thumba completed the design for the vehicle.
  • The maiden flight is expected no earlier than December 2021, from the First Launch Pad, and in the future a dedicated launch pad in Sriharikota called Small Satellite Launch Complex (SSLC) will be set up.
  • A new spaceport, under development, near Kulasekharapatnam in Tamil Nadu will handle SSLV launches when complete.
  • After entering the operational phase, the vehicle’s production and launch operations will be done by a consortium of Indian firms along with New Space India Limited (NSIL).
  • The Government has sanctioned a total cost of Rs. 169 Crores for the development project including the development & qualification of the vehicle systems and the flight demonstration through three development flights (SSLV-D1, SSLV-D2 & SSLV-D3).
  • ISRO’s new chairman Dr Somanath is credited with designing and developing the SSLV during his tenure as director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram since 2018.
    • The maiden flight of the SSLV was scheduled to launch in July 2019 but that has since been delayed due to setbacks from Covid-19 and other issues.

Source: Indian Express

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