CHENNAI: The campaign for the lift-off of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on April 28 is gathering speed at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It is an “international mission,” as the launch vehicle will put in orbit as many as 10 satellites – two from India and eight from other nations.
One of the two Indian satellites, Cartosat-2A that weighs 690 kg, will be used for mapping purposes. The other one to be used for remote sensing is yet to be named. It is a micro satellite that weighs 76 kg. The other eight nano satellites together weigh 50 kg.
A sleek “core-alone” version of the PSLV will put these satellites in to orbit one after another. It is called
George Koshy, Mission Director, said from Sriharikota on Thursday: “The vehicle is fully integrated at the Vehicle Assembly Building of the second launch pad. The launch campaign has picked up speed. Various checks are going on. Everything is getting ready. The satellites are being mated with the vehicle right now. It will continue tomorrow because there are 10 satellites to be integrated with the vehicle.”
It will be a tricky mission for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as the satellites will have to be put in orbit at the right time and right angle one after another. The role of the ejection mechanism is crucial in the mission.
“It will be a challenging mission because handling babies is as difficult as dealing with big persons,” Mr. Koshy said with a touch of humour.
The Indian satellites were built at the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore. While Cartosat-2A will have a resolution of one metre, the other one is an experimental satellite. Certain new technologies are being tried in this satellite.
Of the eight nano satellites, six form a cluster called NLS-4 and they together weigh only 27 kg. Of the six, one each is from the University of Toronto in Canada, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, and two are from Japan. The seventh one, named NLS-5, weighs 16 kg and is again from the University of Toronto. The eighth, called Rubin-8, is from Germany and it weighs seven kg. These satellites were built to learn the art of fabricating satellites by academicians and to test nano technologies for use in satellites.
This is the third time the core-alone version of the PSLV will accelerate into the sky from Sriharikota. In normal configuration, the PSLV has six booster motors around the first stage.
The PSLV is a four-stage rocket that is 44 metres tall and weighs 295 tonnes. In the core-alone vehicle, the strap-on motors are not used. So the core-alone weighs only 230 tonnes.
Antrix Corporation, marketing agency of the ISRO, is charging for launching the eight satellites.
Photo courtesy: ISRO