Satellites

ISRO eyes 100th satellite on 12 Jan; GSAT-11 launch in April

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NEW DELHI: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its 100th satellite along with 30 others, including those from other countries, in a single mission on 12 January 2018 from Sriharikota It will be a milestone event in the country's space history even as communications satellite GSAT-11 is being prepared for an April launch.

ISRO said it was "back in the game" with the launch, the first Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission after the unsuccessful launch of the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in August last, PTI stated Tuesday in a report from Bengaluru.

"The 31 spacecrafts, including weather observation Cartosat-2 series satellite, will be launched by PSLV-C40," ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) director M Annadurai said. Stating that 28 of the satellites were from other countries, the official noted that the launch of three Indian satellites during the mission would mark the roll out of the 100th satellite from ISRO.

"When the last satellite is ejected out it will become the hundredth satellite...the first century we have done. It is the maiden century. So PSLV-C40 marks maiden century of Indian satellite....we are eagerly waiting for that," the official was quoted in the PTI report as saying.

PSLV-C40 will launch the 710 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 30 co-passengers (together weighing about 613 kg) at lift-off on 12 January 12 at 9.28 am, ISRO said. It will be launched from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 100 km from Chennai.

The co-passenger satellites include one micro and nano-satellite each from India. Three micro and 25 nano satellites from six countries, (Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, the UK and the USA) make up the other payload. Referring to the PSLV-C39 failure, Annadurai said ISRO had understood it and repeated tests had been conducted to ensure that such problems did not reoccur.

On 31 August 2017, India's mission to launch its backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H on board PSLV-C39 failed after a technical fault in the final leg following a perfect launch. ISRO then said the heat shield did not separate and, as a result, IRNSS-1H got stuck in the fourth stage of the rocket.

The total weight of all the 31 satellites carried on board PSLV-C40 is about 1323 kg.

Regarding plans for the year, Annadurai said Chandrayaan-2 or Mission Moon was in the final stage of testing and integration of the orbiter, lander and rover, and was expected for launch this year.

Also, IRNSS-1I, a follow-on satellite will be the first satellite whose assembly, integration and testing will be fully done by the private industry, he said, adding "we are enabling the private industry".

GSAT-11, a six-tonne class communication satellite, he said, was at the final leg of testing, and the launch target was April.

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