Gisat-1: On March 5, ISRO to launch new-age satellite that can scan India every 30 minutes

Madhuri Adnal

Bengaluru, Feb 26: The Indian Space Research Organisation on Tuesday said it is scheduled to launch its geo imaging satellite 'GISAT-1' onboard the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle 'GSLV-F10' on March 5. The cameras are capable of scanning the entire country every 30 minutes at a spatial resolution of 50 metres.

The launch is tentatively scheduled at 5:43 pm on March 5, subject to weather conditions, from the second launchpad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. Weighing about 2,275 kg, GISAT-1 is a state-of-the-art agile earth observation satellite which would be placed in a geosynchronous transfer orbit by GSLV-F10, ISRO said. It said that subsequently, the satellite would reach the final geostationary orbit using its onboard propulsion system.

According to the space agency, operating from geostationary orbit, GISAT-1 would facilitate near real-time observation of the Indian sub-continent under cloud-free condition at frequent intervals. A 4-metre diameter Ogive-shaped payload fairing is being flown for the first time in this GSLV flight, ISRO said adding that this is the 14th flight of the GSLV.

Meanwhile, ahead of the launch of India's maiden human spaceflight venture 'Gaganyaan' in December 2021, the ISRO will undertake two unmanned missions in December 2020 and June 2021, its chairman K Sivan recently said. Addressing the inaugural session of a symposium on "Human Spaceflight and Exploration - Present Challenges and Future Trends," Sivan said the Gaganyaan mission not only aims at India's maiden human flight to space but also setting up a new space station for 'continuous space human presence.'

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"We are doing all this (Gaganyaan) on three points - short term plan of two unmanned mission in December 2020 and June 2021, followed by human space flight demonstration in December 2021. "We have the mid-term goal of sustaining the human space programme and continuous space human presence in space on a new space station", he said.

In this regard, the ISRO has initiated a full-fledged astronaut training facility in close proximity to Bengaluru for meeting its future requirements. It is also in talks with NASA and other space agencies and industries on how it can collaborate on human space flight and learn from their experience.

The Gaganyaan will also assist in ISRO's long term goal of inter-planetary mission. "Inter-planetary mission is also on the agenda in the long term," the ISRO chief said.

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On the Gaganyaan mission, Sivan said the space agency has already developed and demonstrated key technologies such as having an operational launcher with 10-tonne playload capability to lower orbit, demonstration of mission design and management and recovery system like space qualified parachutes.

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