After the successful launch of Resourcesat-2 on PSLV-C16 on Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch a series of satellites this year to augment its transponder and earth observation capacities.
“We will launch GSAT-8, a communication satellite, May 19. The 3,200 kg satellite will be launched by an Ariane rocket from French Guyana at 1.30 a.m. Indian time,” ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters. Radhkarishnan said that GSAT-8 will have 24 Ku band transponders (automatic receivers and transmitters of communication and broadcast signals).
Another communication satellite, GSAT-12 with 12 extended C band transponders, will be launched on a PSLV-C17 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket sometime in June-July, he added.
Following that will be the launch of remote sensing satellites, Megha-Tropiques by PSLV-C18 and Risat by PSLV-C19, he said.
“The launch of three satellites was a grand success. The Resourcesat-2 was placed in the polar sun synchronous orbit at 820 km,” Radhakrishnan said.
Resourcesat-2 will replace Resourcesat-1, which has been in orbit since 2003.
The rocket also carried two mini satellites – the 92 kg joint India-Russian Youthsat satellite for stellar and atmospheric studies and the 106 kg X-sat for imaging applications built by the Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University.
The ISRO chief said the X-sat was carried on commercial terms while Youthsat is an India-Russian joint effort.
“Soon after Resourcesat-2 was placed in orbit, the solar panels were deployed. The satellite’s three cameras will be switched on April 28 when the first set of pictures will be received. The Youthsat is also working well,” said T.K. Alex, director of the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore.
He said the space agency’s second lunar mission, Rs.460 crore Chandrayaan-2, is progressing well and will be realised in 2013-14.
Radhakrishnan said ISRO is planning to partner with Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the US in its Moon Rise project to get soil samples from the moon. The project is expected to be in 2014.
On the development of an indigenous cryogenic engine, S. Ramakrishnan, director of the Liquid Propulsion System Centre, said the needed modification and improvements have been identified for the engine developed earlier.
According to him, the flight testing of the ISRO developed cryogenic engine will be held next year.
Radhakrishnan said ISRO will build two cryogenic engines, one to be tested on the ground and the other to be fitted to a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
The space agency’s GSLV went down last April as the indigenous cryogenic engine failed to perform.
On the failure of subsequent GSLV rocket in December 2010 with a Russian-made cryogenic engine, Radhakrishnan said the primary cause was the snapping of connectors that carry command signals from the onboard computer.
On ISRO’s progress on a human space mission, he said the designing of the crew module is on and a proposal worth Rs.450 crore has been submitted to the government.
ISRO’s PSLV-C16 successfully launches Resourcesat-2