India’s Space Agency Prepares For Historic 100th Mission

ISRO is preparing for its 100th mission with the launch of its four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle next month.

AsianScientist (Aug. 10, 2012) – The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is preparing for its historic 100th mission: the September launch of its four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) at Sriharikota.

In a phone interview with Asian Scientist Magazine on Friday, ISRO chief spokesperson Dev Prasad Karnik said that since the April 19, 1975 launch of India’s first satellite Aryabhatta from the former Soviet Union, next month’s flight will mark the 100th mission for the space agency.

Significantly, the historic event will coincide with the 50th anniversary of ISRO. It was on November 21, 1963 that the first rocket – a sounding rocket – supplied by NASA took off from the Indian soil at Thumba near Thiruvanathanapuram.

The 100th mission will ferry a 720 kg French Spot satellite and a 15 kg Japanese Protiers satellite. Spot is a high resolution optical imaging earth observation satellite. The launch is scheduled for the second week of September.

Karnik explained that following the Aryabhatta mission, ISRO has launched 62 satellites and 37 rockets. He said that the figure does not take into account procured launches flying Indian satellites. Procured launches refer to Indian satellites being placed into their orbit by foreign rockets like the Ariane. In such cases only the Indian satellites are considered, he said.

After its 100th mission, ISRO’s 3,400 kg Gsat-10 communication satellite equipped with 30 transponders will be launched by an Ariane-5 rocket at Kourou in French Guiana between September 19 and 21. The total cost of this mission is about Rs. 750 crores.

Gsat-10, which has a 15-year life span, will replace the aging Insat-2e and Insat-3b communication satellites. It has a navigation payload and will augment Gagan’s role in enhancing civil aviation safety standards in India.

Once ISRO’s indigenous Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (GSLV-III) version becomes operational, the space agency will begin launching its communication satellites weighing more than two tons using this new rocket and its dependence on Arianespace will considerably reduce.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Srinivas is a journalist with a passion for space exploration.

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