Insat 3A, GSLV II mission launches in 2003

MUMBAI: Two crucial space missions have been slated for 2003.

First will be the placing of Insat 3A, the indigenous communication satellite in orbit by hi-tech Ariane-5 rocket from the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guyana towards the end of February or the first week of March. 

Then there is the launch of the second geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) from Sriharikota near Chennai in the last week of March or the beginning of April.

The Insat programme is a joint venture of the department of space, department of telecommunications, the India Meteorological Department, All India Radio and Doordarshan. The Insat 3A project, which also has a meteorological role, will cost Rs 352 billion, The Times of India has reported. The satellite, weighing 2,700 kilograms at lift off will be flown from Bangalore to Kourou to be joined with the rocket, the report adds.

The GSLV is a three -stage rocket which is designed to place satellites weighing 1500 kg into orbit. Also, a solar experiment developed jointly by the scientists of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Ahmedabad based Physical Research Laboratory, will be part of the payload of the satellite designated as GSAT-2.

Once operational the Insat satellites that are now flown by an Ariane rocket will be released into orbit by the indigenous GSLV. While the initial flights of the the GSLV will be powered by a Russian cyrogenic engine , the later ones will will have an Indian engine, states the report .

Isro is also developing an advanced version of the GSLV designated as "Mark-3" which will put into orbit a satellite weighing four tones. It is tentatively slated for launch in 2008.

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