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ISRO readies for next launch

ISRO has announced that it will launch a PSLV by this year end undeterred by the failure of Monday's satellite launch.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 14:43 IST

Undeterred by the failure of Monday's satellite launch, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will go ahead with its next scheduled launch later this year and also carry on with its space programmes as planned.

"There is no change in our future launch programmes. As scheduled, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will be launched by this year-end to deploy Cartosat-2, an Indonesian remote-sensing satellite and a space recovery capsule in lower orbits," a top ISRO official said.

Unlike Monday's aborted Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) mission, the PSLV will take off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, off the Andhra coast.

Preparations are under way to assemble the 295-tonne PSLV to carry the three payloads, weighing about 1.3 tonnes collectively.

The second launch pad, from where the GSLV-F02 was launched Monday to carry the INSAT-4C communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit but veered off-course and exploded 60 seconds after lift-off, will be used only for heavier satellites in the two-tonne and four-tonne class for communications and broadcasting services.

"We are planning to launch the PSLV between October and December this year. The launch schedule will be decided once we receive the payloads and integrate them with the 44-metre rocket," said the official, whose organisation's rules do not permit his being identified.

"While the 610-kg space recovery capsule will be built at Sriharikota and the 660-kg Cartosat-2 at our satellite centre in Bangalore, the 56-kg Indonesian mini-satellite, christened Lapan TubSat, will be shipped from Jakarta," he said.

The space recovery capsule will perform micro-gravity experiments in space and descend into the earth's atmosphere after 10-20 days in orbit to plunge into the Bay of Bengal for recovery by the Indian Navy. The experiments will enable the Indian space agency to master the re-entry technology and re-useable rockets.

Cartosat-2 is an advanced remote-sensing satellite with a resolution of one metre for imageries and a swath of about 10 km. Its cameras can provide scene-specific spot imageries for cartographic and a host of other applications.

"Our plans to launch INSAT-4B, the second satellite in the INSAT-4 series, from Kourou in French Guiana on board the Ariane vehicle during February or March 2007 also remain unchanged," the official said.

As per ISRO's contract with Ariane Space, a Paris-based consortium of the European Space Agency, INSAT-4B will be the last of the satellites to be launched outside the country.

Like INSAT-4A, launched by Ariane from Kourou in December 2005, the three-tonne INSAT-4B will also have 24 transponders, including 12 in Ku band and 12 in C band for communication and broadcasting services, especially the direct-to-home service.