Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): India successfully placed the Indo-French EOS 06 ocean observation satellite and eight other nanosatellites into orbit on Saturday with its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket numbered PSLV-C54.
Announcing the success of the mission, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Space Department Chairman and Secretary S. Somanath said all the satellites have been launched.
He also said that the EOS 06 satellite’s solar arrays had been deployed and the satellite was in the precise orbit as expected and congratulated the ISRO team.
The XL variant of the PSLV rocket carrying the 1117kg EOS-6 as the lead passenger and eight others lifted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) here at 11:56am.
Overlays include satellites from two Indian startups: Syzygy Space Technologies Pvt Ltd, commonly known as Pixxel (Anand-16.51 kg), and Dhruvaspace’s two Thybolt satellites: 1.45 kg, Spaceflight USA’s Astrosat (four number 17 .92 kg) and ISRO’s INS-2B ( 18.28 kg).
Approximately 17 minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected EOS-6. The orbit was then changed using two orbit change thrusters inserted into the ring of the rocket propulsion bay. The passengers in tow were ejected on Orbit-2.
The entire mission lasted about two hours.
With this, the PSLV rocket has put 349 foreign satellites into orbit to date.
If you factor in the 36 UK-based OneWeb satellites that were launched into orbit by another LVM3 rocket this year, the total number of foreign satellites launched by ISRO would rise to 385.
At the end of the final countdown, the four-stage, 44.4m-tall expendable XL variant of the PSLV rocket weighing 321 tons slowly rose into the skies with a thick orange flame on its tail.
The rocket gained speed as it ascended while making a rolling thunder sound.
The PSLV rocket runs on solid (first and third stage) and liquid (second and fourth stage) fuels alternately.
The rocket that flew Saturday was PSLV’s 56th mission and the 24th mission with the PSLV-XL variant that has six auxiliary engines with six tons of fuel.
ISRO said the Indo-French EOS-06/Oceansat collaboration will provide continuity services from the Oceansat-2 spacecraft with enhanced payload capabilities and application areas.
EOS-06 payloads include Ocean Color Monitor (OCM-3), Sea Surface Temperature Monitor (SSTM), Ku-Band Scatterometer (SCAT-3), and ARGOS, a French payload.
According to France, ARGOS will reinforce the existing fleet of Indo-French satellites working in meteorological monitoring that are already in orbit (MEGHA-TROPIQUES and SARAL-ALTIKA), thus enhancing the contributions related to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The Indian space agency said the satellite will ensure continuity of ocean color data and wind vector data to support operational applications. It will also improve applications, accommodating some additional data sets such as sea surface temperature and more bands in the optical region for fluorescence and in the infrared region for atmospheric corrections.
The satellite will also develop/improve related algorithms and data products to serve well-established application areas and to enhance mission utility.
INS-2B is ISRO’s second nanosatellite for Bhutan with two payloads, namely NanoMx and APRS-Digipeater. The NanoMx is a multispectral optical imaging payload developed by its Space Applications Center (SAC). The APRS-Digipeater payload is jointly developed by DITTBhutan and ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Center (URSC), ISRO said.
Bhutan’s Information and Communication Minister Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi, who had witnessed the mission from here, said ISRO’s commendable record in launching satellites leaves no doubt about the mission’s success.
He said the mission is another key milestone of the close relationship between India and Bhutan.
Wangdi said that the satellite was built during the covid-19 pandemic.
Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishakar said ISRO is working to set up a ground station in Bhutan.
Pixxel’s Anand Nanosatellite is a technology demonstrator to demonstrate the capabilities and commercial applications of a miniaturized Earth observation camera for Earth observation using a microsatellite in low Earth orbit. This is a three-axis stabilized satellite consisting of a satellite bus, which accommodates all subsystems such as telemetry, telecommand, electric power system, Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS), on-board computers and others and a unit of payload, ISRO said.
Dhuruvaspace’s Thybolt satellites have a communication payload that enables rapid technology demonstration and multi-user constellation development. It also demonstrates Store-and-Forward functionality for authorized users on the amateur frequency band.
Astrocast, a 3U spacecraft, is a technology demonstration satellite for Internet of Things (IoT) payload.