ISRO to today launch pollution-monitoring satellite, 30 others
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch an earth observation satellite, along with 30 micro and nano satellites of eight other countries, on Thursday at 09:58 am. The 16-hour countdown began on Wednesday evening.
The 31 satellites will be launched in two different orbits by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C43) in its 45th flight.
The Indian satellite, Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS), will help in monitoring pollution from industries, according to ISRO.
The satellite will also have other applications in agriculture, forestry, geology, coastal zone study and inland water studies.
“The satellite will observe the surface of the earth and provide all the soil, water, vegetation and other data. Scientists may pick and choose what they want, but pollution monitoring will be possible,” said an ISRO official on condition of anonymity.
The satellite, weighing nearly 380 kgs, will be placed in a 636-km polar sun-synchronous orbit, where the satellite passes over any given geographical area of the earth when the inclination of the sun is the same. The satellite will have a five-year mission life.
The launch vehicle will also have on board 1 micro satellite and 29 nano satellites from Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US. Of these, 1 micro satellite and 22 nano satellites are from the US alone.
So far, the PSLV has launched 52 Indian and 239 international satellites from 28 countries.
Meanwhile, the heavy communication satellite, GSAT 11, is scheduled to be launched from Kourou, French Guiana, early in the morning on December 5 (Indian Standard Time). The satellite, weighing 5,854 kg, is too heavy to be launched by any Indian launch vehicle.
India’s heaviest launch vehicle, GSLV Mk III, can carry a payload of only 4 tonnes to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The satellite had been recalled in April for “some tests” after the Indian Space Research Organisation lost contact with another satellite, GSAT 6A, from the same series of communication satellites.
“The tests have revealed no defects and the satellite is now ready to be launched,” said an official.
“For some time now, there has been a consensus that the Indian Space Research Organisation should have a satellite for monitoring pollution. I suspect that pollution monitoring is not the primary objective of the satellite, but it will improve the precision of monitoring vegetation and mineralogical data,” said Dr Sagnik Dey, from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, who has been working on pollution data from NASA satellites.