BENGALURU: Space diplomacy- Isro preparing to launch nano satellite for Bhutan

BENGALURU: Space diplomacy- Isro preparing to launch nano satellite for Bhutan

BENGALURU: As part of New Delhi’s space
diplomacy, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is preparing to launch
a nano satellite built by engineers from the neighbouring country with the help
of Indian scientists in the second PSLV mission that’s in the pipeline.

As reported earlier, Isro has in
its pipeline three Earth Observations Satellites (EOSs): Two of them — EOS-4
(Risat-1A) and EOS-6 (Oceansat-3) — will be launched using Isro’s workhorse
PSLV and the third one, EOS-2 (Microsat), will be launched in the first
developmental flight of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

Confirmations are now available
that the space agency is preparing to launch the satellite for Bhutan —
BhutanSat — in the second PSLV mission that will have Oceansat-3 as the main
payload. Other than these two satellites, the mission will also put into orbit
India’s first private Earth Imaging satellite developed by Bengaluru-based

Isro chairman K Sivan said: “This
is India’s gift to Bhutan as part of the space diplomacy initiatives put in
place by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We’re helping their personnel to build
the nano satellite which will be used for imaging purposes. It will be launched
on the PSLV carrying EOS-6. The mission will also launch the Pixxel satellite.”

Launch progress

While Isro hopes to achieve the launch of all three EOS missions in the last
quarter of 2021, multiple issues, including disruptions caused by weather, may
impact the internal deadlines set by the agency. “The integration of the PSLV
had begun at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota but had
to be suspended as some glitches were found with the satellite (Risat-1A). It
will resume soon as the problem with the satellite will be resolved,” a senior
scientist from Isro headquarters told TOI.

Therefore, another scientist said, the launch of BhutanSat may stretch to early
next year. However, as per internal deadlines, Isro is looking to launch it by
December. Further, the launch of Risat-1A would also mark the beginning of a
new model for Isro as intended by the space reforms initiated by the Centre.

Earlier, Isro had a supply-driven model. That is, after Isro made a satellite,
it offered it to ministries and government agencies. The three satellites that
the space agency is planning to launch are meant for ministries like
agriculture, home affairs, earth sciences and environment and forests. Unlike
communication satellites where the entire capacity could be demanded by one
customer, a single Earth observation satellite can simultaneously cater to
multiple customers as the data generated by these satellites can be analysed
for different uses.

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