The third generation Indian satellite for monitoring the oceans, formally named Earth Observation Satellite-6 (EOS-6) was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in partnership with the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) among others, from its First Launch Pad (FLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota. The ocean observing mission is a follow-up to OceanSat-1 or IRS-P4 and OceanSat-2 launched in 1999 and 2009, respectively. The satellite was launched aboard the proven launch vehicle PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) on its 56th flight (24th flight of the PSLV-XL version).
The Oceansat-3 was placed in the polar orbit at a height of about 740 kilometers above sea level. While at 1100 kilograms, it is only slightly heavier than Oceansat-1, for the first time in this series it houses three ocean observing sensors viz Ocean Color Monitor (OCM-3), Sea Surface Temperature Monitor (SSTM), and Ku-Band scatterometer (SCAT-3). There is also an ARGOS payload. All these sensors have their own importance for India’s blue economy aspirations.
The advance 13-channel OCM with 360 m spatial resolution and 1400 km swath will observe the day side of the earth every day and will provide crucial data on the distribution of ocean algae which is the base of the food chain within the marine ecosystem. The OCM-3 with a high signal-to-noise ratio is expected to provide improved accuracy in daily monitoring of phytoplankton having a wide range of operational and research applications including fishery resource management, ocean carbon uptake, harmful algal bloom alerts, and climate studies.