Indian space scientists are set to strengthen their pursuit for a share of the billion dollar global market with a new feat on Monday: the launch of a pack of 10 satellites by their warhorse rocket.
On April 28, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will soar into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, to place 10 satellites in orbit within a span of one thousand seconds.
They include the latest version of the Indian remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2A, an 83kg indigenous mini satellite and eight satellites fabricated by universities and research and development organizations of Canada and Germany.
Earlier this year, on January 21, the PSLV rocket launched a 300 kg Israeli satellite TECSAR and helped earn revenues worth $15 million for the Indian space organisation. Only the core of PSLV (sans the boosters) will be used — for the third time in succession — for this unique mission.
The rocket, scheduled to blast off at 9.23 am, will be programmed to re-orient itself every time a satellite is put into orbit. This procedure will ensure that satellites do not crash into one another after they are injected into space.
With this flight, Antrix Corporation, the corporate arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), will demonstrate the capabilities of PSLV rocket to potential customers. "We are certainly going to add to our revenues, though it won't be a significant amount. What counts for us is the confidence and how we can offer to put satellites of various sizes in orbit, " a top official of Antrix Corporation, told this correspondent.
The 690-kg Cartosat-2A will have a state-of-the-art Panchromatic camera for shooting black-and-white pictures in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The imagery will have a spatial resolution of one meter. The space agency's built in mini satellite (IMS-1) carries two optical payloads — a multi-spectral (Mx) camera and a hyper-spectral (HySI) camera. Both payloads operate in the visible and near infrared regions of the electro-magnetic spectrum.