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Undaunted by rocket's failure, India plans 30 satellite launches

Tuesday December 28, 2010 10:39:57 PM, IANS

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Bangalore: India Tuesday announced plans to launch 30 remote sensing satellites in the next 10 years, undaunted by the failed launch of a rocket that was to place an advanced communication satellite into orbit.

The series of launches is intended to strengthen India's lead role in data collection and dissemination, a top scientist said Tuesday.

"We expect (to launch) not less than 30 satellites," V. Jayaraman, director of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), India's one-stop centre for all the users of remote sensing data solutions, said here.

Jayaraman's statement comes in the backdrop of the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-F06), carrying a heavy communication satellite from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, exploding just a minute after launch Saturday evening.

This was the second failure this year. Nine months earlier, GSAT-D3 launch had failed April 15.

Though anguished over the failure, India's top space scientists had said Saturday it would not be a setback to future space programmes.

The failure of GSLV on Christmas day, ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan had said, would not hit India's space exploration programme.

Indian scientists are examining the data to pin-point the exact cause for the GSLV to explode within a minute of launch.

Jayaraman said that the 'Resourcesat-2' satellite was expected to be launched by the end of January next. It would replace the 'Resourcesat-1' which was launched in October 2003 to obtain high resolution multi-spectral data.

India has several remote sensing satellites in operation. The country launched its first civilian remote sensing satellite - IRS-1A in 1988. It was followed by IRS-1B in 1991, IRS-1C in 1995 and IRS-1D in 1997.

Data from these satellites helped in resources survey and management, urban planning, forest studies, disaster monitoring and environmental studies.

Another IRS series, IRS-P3 and IRS-P4, assisted space science and study of ocean respectively. The IRS-P4 launched in 1999 "opened new vistas in ocean studies", says the NSRC.

Jayaraman said the NRSC, based in Hyderabad and a full-fledged centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), would have an integrated multi-mission ground station by June next year to receive all the satellite data.

"This will help the centre to supply 1,000 products to the users directly," Jayaraman told a meeting on Karnataka State Geospatial Database. It was organised by the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre.

NRSC now delivers products in four or five days of receiving the data. The new station, being set up at a cost of around Rs.40 crore, would help deliver the products within 12 hours, he said.

The chief activities of NRSC are satellite data and aerial data reception, data processing, data dissemination; applications for providing value added services and training. It also distributes data from foreign satellites.






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