Isro eyes first GSLV launch after Chandrayaan-2, Earth observation satellite to liftoff on Thursday


The EOS-03 launch will be the second flight for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk II, which had last blasted off with the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.

GSLV Mk II on launchpad with the Earth Observation Satellite. (Photo: Twitter/Isro)

The Indian Space & Research Organisation (Isro) completed filling the propellant on the GSLV-F10 Wednesday after it was wheeled onto the launchpad a day before. The rocket will blast off in the wee hours of Thursday with the Earth Observation Satellite.

The space agency maintained that the launch is scheduled for 5:43 am. The August 12 launch will be the second flight for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk II, which had last blasted off with the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft to the Moon.

“The countdown for the launch of GSLV-F10, EOS-03 mission commenced at 0343Hrs (IST) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota,” the space agency said in a tweet. The final launch will depend on weather conditions as the agency keeps a close watch on environmental developments in the region.

Isro aims to gain its lost pace due to Covid-19, which saw most of its mission come to a gruelling halt as lockdown forced engineers and scientists to work remotely. With the launch of the satellite, Isro will follow it up with another liftoff in September of EOS-4, a radar imaging satellite with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) that can capture during day and night while looking through cloud cover. The satellite will be launched onboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The GSLV flight will be carrying the satellite in a 4 metre diameter-Ogive shaped payload fairing. (Photo: Isro)

The agency is also in plans to launch a three-stage, all-solid launch vehicle, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) by the end of this year. The rocket can carry a payload weighing 500 kilograms to the polar orbit, 500 kilometres above Earth’s surface and a 300-kilogram payload into the Sun Synchronous Polar Orbit.

The Earth Observation Satellite set to be launched on Thursday will be placed in the geosynchronous transfer orbit by GSLV after which it will move in sync with Earth. It will play a key role in disaster management and mitigation for India as it enables near-real-time monitoring of natural disasters like floods and cyclones that have become common in the Indian subcontinent.

Once operational, the satellite will image the whole country four to five times on a daily basis, sending in key data related to weather and environmental change to different agencies.

The GSLV flight will be carrying the satellite in a 4 metre diameter-Ogive shaped payload fairing, which is being flown for the first time, which has so far conducted 13 other flights deploying satellite and partner missions into space.

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