The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is confident of using an indigenous cryogenic engine to propel its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles (GSLV) by September-October this year, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said on Thursday.
Addressing journalists after the successful PSLV-C19 mission to launch the indigenously built Radar Imaging Satellite, RISAT-1, in orbit, Dr. Radhakrishnan said the ISRO now had an understanding of why the test in 2010 with the GSLV cryogenic engine resulted in failure and it was working towards addressing the problems.
As part of this, the GSLV will undergo an endurance test of 1,000 seconds and a vacuum test at a special facility at the Liquid Propellant System Centre at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.
“We are planning a GSLV launch with Indian cryogenic engine during September-October 2012,” Dr. Radhakrishnan said.
However, India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2, slated for 2014, would have to wait until the ISRO carried out GSLV flights successfully, the ISRO chief said.
“We plan to fly two GSLV rockets at an interval of six months and the third will be for the Chandrayaan-2 mission.”
First unmanned mission
India's first unmanned moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in 2008 and the second has been planned with Russian collaboration. While India would make the orbiter and the rover, Russia would contribute the lander.
On the status of the GSLV Mark-III, the upgraded variant of the GSLV, Dr. Radhakrishnan said as the rocket would have a high power cryogenic engine, the engine's various subsystems had to be rigorously tested, and this could take a couple of years.
He said an experimental flight of the GSLV Mark-III without the cryogenic engine is planned during 2012-13 to test the rocket's other parameters.
To a question, Dr. Radhakrishnan said the RISAT-1 could not be classed as a “spy satellite” as it was positioned in the C-band (5.35 GHz) unlike the RISAT-2, whose main sensor was an X-band synthetic aperture radar from Israel Aerospace Industries designed to monitor India's borders and anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations.
The RISAT-2, launched by India in 2009, was later acquired by Israel for $110 million largely for surveillance purposes.
‘Test and validation'
The GSAT-10 communication satellite proposed to be launched by the Ariane-5ECA carrier rocket from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana is ready with the “test and validation over and a possible launch slot in July,” Dr. Radhakrishnan said. The GSAT-10 is expected to meet the growing need for Ku and C-band transponders.