India-Bhutan SAT Launched

India-Bhutan SAT was successfully deployed in space after separating from the launch vehicle at 2.31pm yesterday (Pic: ISRO, Department of Space)

JAMYANG CHOPHEL | Thimphu

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched India-Bhutan SAT from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India on 26 November.

India-Bhutan SAT is a satellite developed in collaboration between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Government of India.

Prime minister Dr Lotay Tshering presented the message from His Majesty the King on the successful launch of the satellite.

His Majesty the King’s address stated, “The launch of India-Bhutan SAT on 26 November is a historic milestone in the exemplary and enduring friendship between Bhutan and India.”

It said the development and launch of the joint satellite mark a new era in the relations between our two nations, extending to the frontiers of space. “It is an endeavour befitting our time, showcasing modern India’s technological and scientific capabilities, and reflecting Bhutan’s aspiration.” 

The Earth Observation Satellite-03 (EOS-3) known as OCEANSAT-3 was also launched by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on its final mission of the year.

Eight nanosatellites, including India-Bhutan satellite was launched along with Oceansat-3.

The cube sat is 30 centimetres and weighs 15 kilograms. It will revolve around Bhutan’s surface for at least twice or thrice per day as part of the collaborative nanosatellite.

The 30-centimeter cubic satellite developed by Bhutanese engineers will be taking surface photographs of the planet as well. The launch of the PSLV satellite into a Sun Synchronous Orbit would mark ISRO’s sixth launch of 2022.

The Oceansat satellite series is used for two different purposes which are for observing earth and monitoring water body.

The first Oceansat was launched in 1999 into a Polar Sun Synchronous orbit. It was launched at a distance of 720 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.

The satellite was equipped with Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) and a Multi-frequency Scanning Microwave Radiometer (MSMR) for oceanographic research. The satellite was operational in the orbit until 8 August, 2010.

The launch of India-Bhutan SAT will not only mark Bhutan’s second nanosatellite launch but also a first mission to have accomplished in collaboration with the Indian government.

Bhutan launched its first nanosatellite in 2018 into orbit abroad SpaceX CRS-15 built during Kyushu Institute of Technology’s Birds-2 program. The satellite will be crucial in completing the several missions across numerous sectors in the nation.

A team in India created a nano-multispectral camera, which is the main payload of the combined satellite. It will use 4 spectral bands to record photographs of Bhutan.

With the satellite positioned 506 kilometers above the surface of the Earth, a ground spatial resolution of 29 meters can be obtained. The remote sensing division will use the satellite picture data for tasks including mapping the forest canopy, tracking the expansion of human settlements, researching landslides, and estimating rooftop solar power potential.

The members of the remote sensing group recently participated in a satellite image processing course at SAC, ISRO Ahmedabad.

This working group, which is the principal organization in charge of overseeing the development of remote sensing capabilities in the nation, is composed of 16 officials from several departments within the Royal Government of Bhutan.

A high-level delegation from Bhutan led by minister for Information & Communications Karma D Wangdi, specially travelled to Sriharikota to witness the launch of the historic INDIA-BHUTAN SAT.

The external affairs minister of India Dr S Jaishankar congratulated the ISRO team and department of information and technology and telecom for the successful launched of the satellite and said that as envisaged by PM Modi and His Majesty the King the two sides has taken the Indo – Bhutan partnership to a new and emerging areas in the 21st century through achievement in space and technology.

“As envisaged by His Majesty the King of Bhutan we must harness the space technology and its application for improving the life of our people” he added.

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering and other cabinet members witnessed ISRO’s launch of the INDIA-BHUTAN SAT from Thimphu.