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India launches South-Asia satellite

The “South Asia satellite” for use by countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region has been launched on May 5. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the satellite as an invaluable gift of India to South Asia and has further stated that the satellite “will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities.” During the 2014 SAARC summit that held in Nepal, the plan for the satellite was announced and subsequently all SAARC countries have joined it except Pakistan. Hence, the beneficiaries of the satellite will be Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The total cost of launching the satellite (around Rs 235 crore) would be met by the Government of India.

Salient features

The 2,230 kg satellite called GSAT-09 has been built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is cuboid in shape and is built around a central cylinder. It has 12 Ku-band transponders. The satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota using a Geostationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-II launch vehicle. It will have a mission life of over 12 years. The launch vehicle, GSLV-F09 is about 50m tall and is the 11th flight of the GSLV. Also, the launch is GSLV’s fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) engine.

Significance

The satellite will provide a full range of applications and services in the fields of telecommunication and broadcasting applications, namely, Television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and Disaster Management Support.

Each of the participating countries would be able to use a dedicated transponder with a capacity of 36 to 54 Mhz for its own internal use. The participating countries would be made responsible for the content generation and its use.

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ISRO to test launch GSLV-Mk III-D1 in May 2017

ISRO is all set to undertake the first developmental flight of a ‘game-changer’ rocket (launching vehicle) that will have the capacity to launch four-tonne class of satellites, from Sriharikota spaceport. ISRO looks forward to conduct the second developmental flight within this year.

Significance

With the successful test launch, ISRO can carry out all the launches within the country instead of depending on international agencies for the launch of heavier satellites. Hence, the successful test launch will help in reducing ISRO’s dependency on international launching vehicles. ISRO’s launch vehicles as of now have the capability to launch satellites only up to 2.2 tonne. For the launch of heavier satellites, it had to depend upon the international agencies.  So, the ISRO rightly views operationalisation of this rocket as a “game-changer” mission.

GSAT-19

GSAT-19 would be the payload for the first developmental flight of the indigenous GSLV-Mk III-D1 Launcher. GSAT-19 has a mass of 3200 kg and would carry Ka and Ku band payload along with a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer Payload (GRASP). The spectrometer would be used to monitor and study the nature of the charged particles and influence of space radiation on spacecraft and electronic components.

GSAT-19 would also make use of advanced spacecraft technologies such as bus subsystem experiments in the electrical propulsion system, indigenous Li-ion battery and indigenous bus bars for power distribution etc.

About GSLV-Mk III

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III is the next generation launch vehicle of ISRO which will be capable of launching four-tonne class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). It has an indigenous cryogenic third stage, designated as C25. The C25 stage is considered as the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO which uses Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) propellant combination.

 

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ISRO successfully test cryogenic engine of GSLV Mark 3 rocket

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted hotbed test of the indigenously developed high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) of the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM3) rocket for the upper stage.

The long-duration test was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu and lasted for 640 seconds. It  was conducted with Mixture Ratio Controller (MRC) in a closed loop mode.

Key facts

  • The CE20 uses Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants and generates power of approximately 2 MW.
  • It has been developed indigenously by Mahendragiri based Liquid Propulsion System centre (LPSC).

Earlier Tests

CE20 engine already has undergone two short-duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance. In 2015, the first developmental engine completed different hot tests in various operating regimes. In the next the engine will be vacuum tested in the high altitude test facility as part of the flight acceptance test.

Comment

This test is considered as phenomenal achievement in the shortest time. It will boost India’s capability to launch heavier satellites into higher orbits and is capable of doubling the capacity of payloads that can be carried into space.

GSLV Mark 3 rocket is the biggest rocket made in India and capable of launching four-tonne satellites into geosynchronous orbit. India is sixth spacefarer after US, Russia, the European Space Agency (ESA), China and Japan to develop a cryogenic engine.

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