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PSLV launch successful, 5 satellites placed in orbit

Monday, July 12, 2010 06:10:58 PM, Agencies

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-15) blasting off from a launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Monday. (Photo: S.R. Raghunathan/The Hindu)

Sriharikota: In its 16th successive, successful mission, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle placed five satellites into the predestined orbit after a precision launch on Monday, a feat that elated the space community as it came after the failure of last launch.

The payloads included the latest remote sensing satellite CARTOSAT 2B, a nanosatellite fabricated by students of a consortium of private engineering colleges in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, ALSAT -2A of Algeria, AISSAT – 1 of Canada and TISAT of Switzerland.

A visibly pleased K Radhakrishnan, the new director of the space agency who tasted defeat in his first mission as the chief when the GSLV – D3 failed three months ago, said that the whole mission including the launch vehicle and satellites worked “extremely well as expected” to make the project a success.

CARTOSAT – 2B, the 17th in a series of remote sensing satellites that India has launched so far, is an agile, sophisticated equipment with a panchromatic camera that can map the whole world if needed. Data from the satellite will find applications in cartography, urban and rural infrastructure development and management, and GIS, said ISRO officials.

The ‘core alone’ vehicle, a lighter version that does not have the strap-on motors that boost the ascent, cost about Rs 80 crore while the satellite cost about Rs 175 crore.

Besides the main payload, the students’ effort named STUDSAT is a picosatellite weighing less than a kilogram is the next biggest leap for Indian space research, an effort that Radhakrishnan termed was a ‘national investment’.

The foreign payloads were ferried to the orbits after charging commercial charges for each kilogram, said officials, refusing to divulge the exact figure.

Even as the scientists backslapped themselves for a job well done, they have lined up a series of projects including a GSLV and PSLV launches each, apart from testing the technology to be used for much-hyped manned mission to space.

The scientists here said they would take a step closer to the dream of sending an Indian to space by initially sending a PSLV to evaluate the complicated technologies including a habitable orbital capsule, orbital vehicle system and its reentry into Earth from outer space. This first phase is expected by 2013, Radhakrishnan said.

The evaluation model will orbit Earth for about seven days when all the technology and equipment that would be used in the manned mission will face the test of outer space atmosphere.

Simultaneously, four persons will be selected from a large number of skilled hands who would be trained in space travel, from whom two will make the eventual trip away from the paradigmatic gravity, though senior officials refused to fix a date.

Along with these efforts, there requires parallel measures to set up the basic infrastructure needed for undertaking manned mission. According to MC Duttan, director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, it requires Rs 1,000 crore investment to set up the infrastructure including a third launch facility.

“We have proposed a new launch pad and are waiting for approval. In connection with this, we are in the process of setting up a vertical assembly building, one of the main components of the proposed new facility,” Duttan said.

Apart from this, there are two more launches lined up: GSLV F06 carrying the communication satellite GSAT 5B and PSLV – C16 carrying Resourcesat II, both of which would be launched in the months of September and October, before the onset of North Eastern Monsoon.






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