Monday, 18 April 2011

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Ready for LiftOff


India is ready to launch Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C16) from the first launch pad at Sriharikota on April 20 at 10.12 a.m. 

This launch vehicle will put in orbit three satellites — India's Resourcesat-2, an Indo-Russian satellite called Youthsat and a micro-satellite named X-Sat from the Nangyang Technological University of Singapore.

The Launch Authorisation Board (LAB), which met at Sriharikota on Saturday, cleared the rocket's lift-off.
“Everything is going on well. Things are smooth. This is one of the standard launches by the PSLV,” said S. Ramakrishnan, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The LAB reviewed the readiness of the launch vehicle, the spacecraft systems and the ground stations, and authorised the 54-hour countdown to begin at 3.40 a.m. on Monday.

ISRO spokesman S. Satish said that during the countdown, the second and the fourth stages of the rocket would be filled with liquid propellants. Mandatory checks of the vehicle and the three spacecraft, including the charging of the batteries and pressurisation of the propellant tanks, would be done. Readiness of the launch infrastructure such as radar systems that track the vehicle and communication networks would be reviewed, Mr. Satish said.

Resourcesat-2, built by ISRO, is the primary satellite in this mission. It is an advanced remote-sensing satellite, weighing 1,206 kg. An important feature of Resourcesat-2 is that it carries three cameras — with high, medium and coarse resolutions — on a single platform. The images taken by the cameras will be useful for estimating the health of crops, locating ground water, keeping a surveillance on deforestation, and monitoring the level of water in reservoirs and lakes and the snow-melt in the Himalayas and the consequent receipt of water in the rivers.

The 92-kg Youthsat has been built by India and Russia, with one payload from Russia and two from ISRO. The satellite will be used for stellar and atmospheric studies, including watching the activities in the sun and their effect on the earth's upper atmosphere. The 106-kg X-Sat will be used for imaging applications.

The ISRO would have a busy schedule ahead with PSLV launches in the coming months, Mr. Satish said. A PSLV would put in orbit GSAT-12 in June from Sriharikota. This would be followed by the launch of Megha-Tropiques satellite, another GSAT and Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1), all during this year, from Sriharikota. Another GSAT would be put in orbit in June 2011 from Kourou island, French Guiana, by an Ariane rocket from Arianespace.