India would launch its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01 and nine international customer spacecraft onboard its Polar rocket PSLV-C49 from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 7, ISRO said on Wednesday. This is the first launch by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) since the COVID-19 induced lockdown came into force in March.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan had said in June that ten space missions being prepared for launch this year have been ‘disturbed’ due to the lockdown.
EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry, and disaster management support, the city- headquartered ISRO said.
“India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 51st mission will launch EOS-01 as a primary satellite along with nine international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The launch is tentatively scheduled at 1502 hours IST on November 07, 2020, subject to weather conditions,” a statement from the space agency said.
The only other Indian satellite launched this year was the heavy-communication satellite GSAT 30, which was launched from Kourou, French Guiana, by the commercial launcher Arianespace.
A scheduled launch of an earth imaging satellite in March was postponed and did not take place because of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has hampered several big-ticket projects that were planned for 2020 and the next year. India was to launch its first solar mission in the first half of the year; a third lunar mission with just the lander and the rover was also to take place either at the end of 2020 or the first half of the next year.
The human spaceflight programme, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence day speech in 2018, was to attempt its first unmanned human-rated vehicle launch in December 2020.
Mean-while, India has reported a daily jump of 49,881 Covid-19 cases, even as the tally has soared past the 8-million mark. The country’s death toll has mounted to 120,563. Out of the total Covid-19 cases, 603,687 are currently active, 7,315,989 have been discharged, while 1,20,527 lost the battle against the pandemic. Amid the festive season and rising pollution level, Delhi on Wednesday recorded over 5,600 fresh cases for the first time, with the city witnessing a sudden surge in daily incidences in the past few days. According to the latest health department bulletin, the positivity rate has also jumped to 9.37 per cent, as the infection tally in the city has mounted to over 370,000.