Wednesday, September 23, 2009

India’s pride Space Programme

Isro in 7th heaven after PSLV’s 15th success

Perfect Launch For Oceansat-2 & 6 Nano-Sats

Sriharikota: Just past its 16th birthday and on its 16th mission, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) placed with characteristic precision the country’s 16th remote sensing satellite in a pre-designated orbit of 728 km. Six European nano-satellites, too, are part of the launch, making this a unique seven-satellite mission.

It was the 15th consecutive successful mission for the 44-metre, 230-tonne launch vehicle, designated C-14 for this mission, ever since it failed on its debut on September 20, 1993.

“The PSLV is like old wine, it keeps improving with age,” said Isro chairman G Madhavan Nair after what he said was an excellent and precise launch. Oceansat-2, the country’s second ocean studies satellite that aims to aid fishermen in identifying fishing zones and weathermen to forecast cyclones by measuring sea surface winds, was injected into a 728-km orbit, exactly 1,081 seconds after lift-off at 11.51 am.

For those who watched the clear skies above the spaceport in the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, but for a few innocuous cloudy patches, there would have been little indication of the initial glitches. During the 51-hour countdown (which began on Monday), scientists discovered an anomaly in the reaction control package. “We replaced it immediately. Normally, it would have taken a week, but we didn't want to lose even a minute,” Nair said later. The cheers from the assembled crowd erupted much before the sonic boom rolled towards them, as the rocket remained visible for nearly a minute. The separation of each stage and the ignition of the subsequent one occurred at almost precisely planned moments. Three minutes after liftoff, the heat shield separated at an altitude of about 125 km as the rocket cleared the dense atmosphere.

With the launch vehicle costing Rs 160 crore and the main payload Rs 75 crore, it was described as a cost-effective mission by the Isro chairman.

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