EOS-01 : India’s latest eye in the sky

ISRO successfully launched EOS01, an earth observation satellite intended for application sin agriculture, forestry and disaster management and nine customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Centre in Sriharikota on Saturday

ISRO said that the EOS01 successfully separated from the fourth stage of the PSLV-C49 along with all the 9 customer satellite. 

ISRO chief K Sivan said the team raised to the occasion during he pandemic, worked as per the COVID guidelines, without compromising on quality. 

The nine customer satellites from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4) and USA (4) were launched under a commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).

For the launch of EOS-01, ISRO used a new variant of its PSLV rocket that has been flown only once before, in January last year, when it had placed the Microsat-R satellite in orbit. This Microsat-R was the one that was brought down in March last year in India’s first anti-satellite test, a demonstration of its capability to hit an in-orbit enemy satellite in space.

This variant of PSLV does not become waste after depositing its satellite in the orbit. Instead, the last stage of the rocket, the one that remains after the satellite is separated, can acquire its own orbit and be used as an orbital platform for other onboard instruments to perform experiments in space. In effect, the fourth stage acts like another satellite, with a life span of about six months.

According to Amitabh Sinha, EOS-01 is nothing but another Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) that will work together with RISAT-2B and RISAT-2BR1 launched last year. EOS-01 was initially named RISAT-2BR2, and was supposed to be the third of the three-spacecraft constellation aimed at providing all-weather round-the-clock service for high-resolution images.

EOS-01, like its cousins RISAT-2B and RISAT-2BR1, uses synthetic aperture radars to produce high-resolution images of the land. One big advantage that radar imaging has over optical instruments is that it is unaffected by weather, cloud or fog, or the lack of sunlight. It can produce high-quality images in all conditions and at all times.

Depending on the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation used by the radar, different properties on land can be captured in the image. For example, a low wavelength signal can capture tree cover or vegetation, while a higher wavelength signal can penetrate even dense tree cover to look at the contours of land beneath.

EOS-01, and its sister RISATs, use X-band radars that operate at low wavelengths and are considered best for monitoring of urban landscape, and imaging of agricultural or forest land. According to ISRO, EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support. The radar images are also considered to be immensely useful for military requirements.

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