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ISRO upbeat after successful launch of six Singaporean satellites

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Sriharikota: India on Wednesday successfully launched six Singaporean satellites. As the Indian space agency achieved the milestone of its 50th rocket launch from here, its chief said they are now looking at the way forward and have a lot more to achieve.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s core alone (PSLV-CA) variant — standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 227 tonnes — took off from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh, around 80 km from Chennai. It rose into the evening skies, riding majestically on the tail of fierce orange flames.

Expressing satisfaction at ISRO’s performance in 2015, the space agency’s chairman A S Kiran Kumar said it was now way forward to 2016.

ISRO will carry on the activity of putting satellites — both communication and earth observation variants — into orbit, he said.

“We have a lot more to achieve next year,” he said.

Another official said with Wednesday’s successful blast-off, ISRO also achieved the milestone of its 50th rocket launch out of Sriharikota.

Besides launching the six Singaporean satellites, ISRO also tested the rocket’s fourth stage/engine’s ability to restart after it was cut off around 17 minutes into the flight.

Technically speaking, India was testing a multiple burn fuel stage/rocket engine for the first time.

“The restart and shut off of the fourth stage engine is done as a first step towards launching multiple satellites but in different orbits,” an ISRO official told IANS, declining to be named.

Launching multiple satellites with a single rocket is nothing new for ISRO and it has been doing that for several years now. The challenge is, however, to put several satellites into different orbits with one rocket.

This is what ISRO plans to test when the PSLV-CA ejects the six Singaporean satellites.

The PSLV rocket is a four-stage/engine rocket powered by solid and liquid fuel alternatively.

“Restarting a rocket engine soon after it is shut off is a critical technology that has to be mastered. Once a rocket engine is activated, then the heat generated is very high. The trick is to cool it down in space and to restart it after a short gap,” an industry expert said.

“This is entirely different from switching on and off the communication satellite’s engines in space. The interval between two restarts of a communication satellite engine will be in days. But in the case of restarting a rocket engine, the time gap will be in hours,” the expert added.

“By that time, the rocket’s engine has to be cooled down. This part of the experiment is very critical,” he explained.

The PSLV’s fourth stage/engine will be restarted just over 67 minutes into the flight or 50 minutes after the engine was cut off.

At the time of restart, the fourth stage will be in a lower altitude of 523.9 km while the satellites would have been ejected at 550 km altitude.

The engine will be operated for four seconds and is planned to go up to an altitude of 524 km before it is cut off again.

In December 16 blast-off, ISRO is using the ‘core alone’ variant of the PSLV rocket. The rocket did not have the strap-on boosters, its standard feature.

With the successful launch of the six Singaporean satellites, ISRO has put a total of 57 foreign satellites into space.

Out of the six satellites, the 400 kg earth observation satellite called TeLEOS-1 is the main passenger for the PSLV rocket and hence the mission is called TeLEOS mission by ISRO.

TeLEOS-1 is Singapore’s first commercial earth observation satellite designed and developed by ST Electronics.

The other five co-passenger satellites are VELOX-C1 (123 kg), VELOX-II (13 kg), Kent Ridge-1 (78 kg), Galassia (3.4 kg) and Athenoxat-1.

The December 16 mission is the last launch mission for ISRO in 2015.

So far in 2015, ISRO has launched 14 satellites (three Indian and 11 foreign) from its rocket port in Sriharikota. Thirteen satellites were launched with PSLV rocket and one communication satellite — GSAT-6 — with geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV).

Last month, India also launched its communication satellite GSAT-15 using the Ariane rocket of the European space agency which takes the total number of satellite launches in 2015 to 21 (17 foreign, four Indian).(IANS, Image: thecampusconnect)

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India’s 40th Communication Satellite GSAT-31 Launched Successfully by an Ariane 5 Rocket

GSAT-31 was the 23rd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers.

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Sriharikota: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s communication satellite GSAT-9 on-board GSLV-F09 lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has termed the satellite as India's “space gift for South Asia”. PTI

India’s 40th communication satellite GSAT-31 was successfully put into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket belonging to Arianespace on early Wednesday, said Indian space agency ISRO and Arianespace.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the telecommunication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched on February 06, 2019 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5.

The 2,535-kg GSAT-31 would augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in geostationary orbit.

ISRO, GSAT-31
GSAT-31 was successfully put into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket. IANS

According to ISRO, GSAT-31, with a mission life of 15 years, will be used for supporting VSAT networks, television uplinks, digital satellite news gathering, DTH television services, cellular back haul connectivity and more.

The GSAT-31 will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites, ISRO said.

The two Ku-band beacon downlink signals are transmitted by the satellite for ground tracking purpose, it said.

According to Arianespace, it opened its 2019 mission activity by successfully orbiting a pair of telecommunications spacecraft – Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 (HS-4/SGS-1) and GSAT-31 with Ariane 5 rocket.

ISRO's satellites
GSAT-31 was successfully launched on February 06, 2019 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5.

Arianespace CEO Stéphane IsraAl confirmed the success in post-launch comments from the spaceport’s control room. “For the first Ariane 5 launch of the year, our heavyweight vehicle has once more performed flawlessly,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

IsraAl said that GSAT-31 was the 23rd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version.

He added: “Arianespace is honoured ISRO has entrusted Ariane 5 for two launches back-to-back, with the last Ariane 5 of 2018 launching GSAT-11, and today the first one of the year 2019, which orbited GSAT-31!”

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With today’s success, Arianespace kicks off a busy launch schedule in 2019 — which targets up to 12 missions from the Spaceport with the heavyweight Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega. (IANS)