The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched 9 satellites, including an Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-06), into multiple orbits using the space agency’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C54) in one of its longest missions.


About the mission

  • Launch vehicle: PSLV — This is the 56th flight of the PSLV and the 24th flight of the PSLV-XL version that took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR, Sriharikota.
      • The PSLV is an expendable medium-lift launch vehicle designed and operated by the ISRO.
      • It was developed in 1993 to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits.
        • PSLV can also launch small size satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
      • Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India’s first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India’s first interplanetary mission – Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and India’s first space observatory – Astrosat.
      • PSLV-XL is the upgraded version of PSLV which uses larger strap-on motors (PSOM-XL or S12) to achieve higher payload capability up to 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) to Sun-synchronous orbit.
  • Satellites —
      • The 8 nano satellites —
        • It includes ISRO Nano Satellite-2 for Bhutan (INS-2B), Anand, Astrocast (four satellites) and two Thybolt satellites.
      • EOS-6 —
        • It is the Oceansat series’ 3rd-generation satellite envisaged to observe ocean colour data, sea surface temperature and wind vector data to use in oceanography, climatic and meteorological applications.
  • Separation of the satellites —
      • The primary satellite (EOS-06) was separated in Orbit-1 and subsequently, orbit was changed by using two Orbit Change Thrusters (OCTs) introduced in the Propulsion Bay Ring of the PSLV-C54.
      • Later, all the 7 commercial satellites from NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) were deployed successfully.
        • Astrocast, a 3U spacecraft from Spaceflight Inc, US, was separated.
        • The Thybolt, a 0.5U spacecraft bus with a communication payload to enable rapid technology demonstration and constellation development from Dhruva Space, was then placed in the intended orbit.
        • The Anand three axis stabilised nano satellite, a technology demonstrator from Pixxel, India was also placed in the orbit.


About the India-Bhutan Satellite

  • The INS-2B satellite, a joint mission between India and Bhutan, contains two payloads –
      • NanoMx, a multispectral optical imaging payload developed by Space Applications Centre (SAC), and
      • APRS-Digipeater, built collaboratively by DITT-Bhutan and URSC.
  • The India-Bhutan satellite achieved a historic milestone in India’s bi-lateral cooperation with Bhutan.
  • Also, the ISRO is working with Bhutan in establishing a ground station in Thimphu, which will be commissioned shortly.


Future missions ISRO is planning

  • ISRO is planning to have its mission to the sun with its satellite Aditya-L1, a coronagraphy spacecraft to study the solar atmosphere, with a PSLV rocket next year.
  • The space agency will also launch 4 navigation satellites for the country’s NavIC constellation, with the first one going up in 2023.