India will send a new Earth observation satellite to space tonight (August 11) to monitor natural disasters, agricultural and forest regions.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is due to launch a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) carrying the EOS-03 satellite from the Satish Dhawan space center in eastern India near the Bay of Bengal, at 8:43 p.m. EDT (0043 GMT or 5:43 a.m. local time on Friday, August 12.) You can watch the launch live on this page, as well as on the ISRO website and Youtube channel at the time of take-off. The webcast will begin at 7:40 p.m. EDT (2343 GMT).
The GSLV rocket is expected to put the satellite into a preliminary transfer orbit, and EOS-03 is expected to launch into a geosynchronous orbit within days.
ISRO officials describe EOS-03 as a “state-of-the-art” Earth observation satellite with three main objectives: near real-time imagery with frequent visits to the same region, monitoring of natural disasters and other events at short term, and collecting spectral signatures for agriculture and forestry to monitor things like crop health.
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Wednesday’s launch will be the fourteenth for the GSLV-type rocket, which Indian news sources best remember as the launch vehicle for Chandrayaan-2, India’s second lunar exploration mission to be launched. successfully from the same center in July 2019. While the lander-rover combination crashed during a landing attempt, the orbiter is still performing well as it continues to search for lunar ice.
EOS-03 has been delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has forced engineers and scientists to work remotely, according to a India today report. ISRO is trying to regain its foothold and launch more frequently in the coming months, the report added, with EOS-04 slated to launch in September. The September mission will include a synthetic aperture radar to scan the clouds and will be launched aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
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EOS-03 will be ISRO’s first satellite launch since December 17, 2020 when the CMS-01 communications satellite went into space, according to agency data. ISRO carried out three launches in 2020 in January, November and December; the pandemic broke out in March.
ISRO also plans to launch a solid three-stage rocket called the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) by the end of 2021, India Today noted. The SSLV will be able to launch payloads into either a polar orbit or a sun-synchronous polar orbit (meaning any satellite would have consistent lighting conditions below.)
Along with the launch of the EOS-03, the GSLV will mark its first flight with a 13-foot (4-meter) payload fairing on board. The fairing will allow the rocket to accommodate larger payloads, ISRO said.
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