Recent launches

PSLV-C51 was successfully launched by ISRO recently.

This was the 53rd flight of ISRO’s launch vehicle and the first dedicated mission of its commercial arm, NewSpace India Ltd.

The mission was undertaken under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc., U.S.


Satellites onboard:

It carried 19 satellites (Including Brazil’s optical earth observation satellite, Amazonia-1, and 18 co-passenger satellites — five from India and 13 from the U.S.).

Amazonia-1 is the first fully Brazilian-made satellite, which would help to monitor the Amazon forests.

The Amazonia-1 was injected into its precise orbit of 758 km in a sun-synchronous polar orbit.

The satellites from India are:

The Satish Dhawan SAT (SDSAT) built by Space Kidz India. It has an engraving of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the top panel.A nano-satellite intended to study the radiation levels, space weather and demonstrate long-range communication technologies.

The UNITYsat, a combination of three satellites for providing radio relay services.Another satellite belonging to the DRDO.

It is a communication satellite launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on board the PSLV-C50.

CMS-01 is a communications satellite envisaged for providing services in extended C Band of the frequency spectrum.

Its coverage will include the Indian mainland, and the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands, ISRO said.

The satellite is expected to have a life of more than seven years.

GSAT-30 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series and will replace INSAT-4A in orbit.

GSAT-30 is configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-3K Bus structure to provide communication services from Geostationary orbit.

GSAT-30 uses two satellite frequencies:

It gives the Indian mainland and islands coverage in the Ku band, and extended coverage in a wider area stretching from Australia to Europe in the lower-frequency C-band.

The Ku and C bands are part of a spectrum of frequencies, ranging from 1 to 40 gigahertz, that are used in satellite communications.



With a mission life of over 15 years, GSAT-30 will provide DTH [direct-to-home] television Services, connectivity to VSATs [Very Small Aperture Terminals] for ATM, stock exchange, television uplinking and teleport services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications.

What is EOS-01?

It is an earth observation satellite.

EOS-01 is nothing but another Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) that will work together with RISAT-2B and RISAT-2BR1 launched last year.

Henceforth all the earth observation satellites would be called EOS-series.


What are earth-observation satellites used for?

Land and forest mapping and monitoring, mapping of resources like water or minerals or fishes, weather and climate observations, soil assessment, geospatial contour mapping are all done through earth-observation satellites.


Advantages of radar imaging over optical instruments:

Radar imaging 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.


What is RISAT-2BR1?

It is a radar imaging earth observation satellite.It provides services in the field of agriculture, forestry and disaster management.Its mission life is 5 years.

Other satellites on board:The nine customer satellites were from Israel, Italy, Japan and the USA.These satellites were launched under a commercial arrangement with New Space India Limited (NSIL).

Background:The RISAT, which was first deployed in orbit on April 20, 2009 as the RISAT-2, uses synthetic aperture radars (SAR) to provide Indian forces with all-weather surveillance and observation, which are crucial to notice any potential threat or malicious activity around the nation’s borders.Following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the launch of RISAT-2 was prioritised over RISAT- 1, as its C-band SAR radar was not yet ready and RISAT -2 carried an Israeli-built X-band radar.

Cartosat-3 is a third-generation agile advanced earth observation satellite with high-resolution imaging capability. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), it will replace the IRS series.

Cartosat-3 has a panchromatic resolution of 0.25 metres making it the imaging satellite with highest resolution and Mx of 1 metre with a high-quality resolution, which is a major improvement from the previous payloads in the Cartosat series.

Cartosat-2 was used to plan and execute military operations such as ‘surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control in 2016 and the operations across Manipur-Myanmar border in 2015. Cartosat-2 has got resolution of 65 cm.


Applications of Cartosat-3:

It will address the increased user’s demands for large  scale urban planning, rural resource and infrastructure development, coastal land use and land cover etc

In its annual report of 2017-18, ISRO laid out a very clear strategy of developing India’s Earth observation (EO) capabilities that is based on capturing different themes of land, water, cartography, ocean, atmosphere, and meteorology.

New missions such as the Geo Imaging Satellite (GISAT), which will enable real-time imaging, alongside the established Resourcesat, Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT), Cartosat, Oceansat and the Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) constellation make India’s fleet of EO satellites one of the most comprehensive remote-sensing data sets in the world.



The Indian Space Research Organisation has marked a big milestone by successfully testing its heavy-lift launcher while launching an advanced communication satellite.


The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII) launched GSAT29, an advanced communications satellite, into a geosynchronous transfer orbit where the satellite’s closest approach to earth would be 190 km and the farthest 35,975 km


Work of GSLV-MkIII and GSAT-29:

According to ISRO, the GSAT-29 satellite is intended to serve as a test bed for several new technologies. It is specifically designed to cater to communication requirements of users from remote areas of the country. The mission life is about 10 years.


GSLV-MkIII is the fifth generation launch vehicle developed by ISRO and is designed to place satellites of up to 4,000 kg in GTO.GSLV MkIII is the heaviest launch vehicle made in India, and GSAT29 is the heaviest satellite to take off from Indian soil.The heavy lift launcher is going to be used for Chandrayaan-II in early 2019.

GSAT-11 is ISRO’s heaviest satellite ever built and weighs about 5854 kilograms.

It was launched onboard Ariane-5 launch vehicle from French Guiana.

ISRO has revealed that the satellite will be initially placed in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and will be later raised to Geostationary Orbit. It will be using the Liquid Apogee Motor which will be onboard the satellite.

GSAT-11 is part of ISRO’s new family of high-throughput communication satellite (HTS) fleet that will drive the country’s Internet broadband from space to untouched areas.

According to ISRO, GSAT-11’s multiple spot beam coverage — 32 in Ku band and eight in Ka bands — will deliver an improved service of 16 gbps over the Indian region and nearby islands.

The satellite will also have VSAT Terminals which basically will ensure that it can handle large capacity platforms to support a huge subscriber base.


GSAT 11: Why is it important?

GSAT-11 will bring far greater speeds (16 Gbps of it, no less) and capacity to meet growing demand for mobile and internet in households, businesses, and public organisations.

Large parts of rural areas still remain untouched by the scope of commercial telecom today — something GSAT-11 is designed to change. Under Digital India’s BharatNet project GSAT-11 will boost access to voice and video streaming in most, if not all, of rural India.

With India moving fast towards implementing ‘Smart Villages and Cities’, they can be efficiently linked through a large communication satellite.

The GSAT 7 series was launched in 2013 as a dedicated communications satellite for the Indian Navy, which made the Navy completely independent of relying on foreign satellites for its blue water capabilities, thanks to GSAT 7 having a 2,000 nautical mile footprint. This helps in providing real-time inputs to Indian warships, submarines and maritime aircraft.

GSAT-7A would be placed in the geostationary orbit and this communication satellite is expected to help the IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, airbases and AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) aircraft. The idea is to improve the IAF’s network-centric warfare capabilities.

The GSAT-7A is expected to have the Ku-band transponders and two deployable solar arrays onboard.

The GSAT-7A is also expected to be a big push for drone operations as it will help the Navy reduce the reliance on on-ground control stations and take satellite-control of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) which should help boost the range and endurance of the UAVs.

In addition to GSAT-7A, the IAF would also be getting the GSAT-7C in a few years, to boost the network-centric operations.