The agency opened its account in 2021 with a textbook launch of PSLV-C52

Weeks after successfully launching Earth Observation Satellite-04, the Indian Space & Research Organisation (ISRO) has set eyes on the second launch of the year. The Indian Space Agency will blast off the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) with Oceansat-3 and INS-2B from Sriharikota to mark the second launch of the year.

Sources told India Today that the launch could likely be conducted by the end of March or the first week of April and could have five rideshare satellites. The satellites will be launched onboard PSLV-C53, which will deploy them in orbit around Earth. The payload is being readied in Ahmedabad and will take at least two weeks before assembling begins.

Sources added that the assembling process will take place in Bangalore before it is transported to Sriharikota for commencing launch activities. The entire process could take at least three to four weeks after which the satellites will be rolled onto the launch pad for final lift-off.

The main payload will be part of the Oceansat series of satellites used for earth observation and monitoring water bodies. The first Oceansat was launched in Polar Sun Synchronous orbit nearly 720 kilometers above Earth in 1999. The satellite carried Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) and a Multi-frequency Scanning Microwave Radiometer (MSMR) for oceanographic studies. The satellite remained functional for 11 years in orbit till August 8, 2010.

Oceansat-2 was blasted off onboard PSLV-C14 mission in 2009 with three payloads: Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM), Ku-band Pencil Beam scatterometer (SCAT), and Radio Occultation Sounder for Atmosphere (ROSA) developed by the Italian Space Agency. Oceansat-2 had an operational lifetime of five years.

Oceansat-3 will carry forward the legacy of the series as it is launched in the Sun-Synchronous Polar Orbit. The space agency is yet to release more details about the mission. ISRO chief S Somnath had earlier this year said that the Department of Space will conduct five major satellite launches in the coming three months.

After the launch of Oceansat-3, ISRO will lift-off SSLV-D1 Micro SAT in April 2022. ISRO will also launch GSAT-21, the first fully funded satellite by the New Space India Limited (NSIL). The communication satellite will be developed and operated by NSIL to meet the Direct to Home (DTH) application needs.

The agency opened its account in 2021 with a textbook launch of PSLV-C52 with EOS-04 and two rideshare satellites on Valentine's Day morning. The four-stage rocket lifted off with a student satellite INSPIRESat and a spacecraft dubbed INSAT-2DT that is a precursor of a joint India-Bhutan mission in the future.