Seven PSLV-launched satellites will study stars, test mobile phone electronics in space

The seven satellites put into orbit by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20) on Monday from the spaceport at Sriharikota “are doing fine and in good condition,” said S. Ramakrishnan, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, on Tuesday.

The seven satellites include SARAL, an India-French joint venture mission, for conducting oceanographic studies. SARAL’s solar panels deployed automatically after it went into orbit and subsequent operations were proceeding smoothly, Mr. Ramakrishnansaid. The other satellites from Canada, Austria, Denmark and the United Kingdom will be useful in tracking asteroids and geostationary satellites in orbit, studying some of the brightest stars in the sky and testing mobile phone electronics in space environment.

The focus now would be on the lift-off of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) with an indigenous cryogenic engine, said Mr. Ramakrishnan. “We are aiming for its launch in May from the second launch pad at Sriharikota,” he said.

The testing of the indigenous cryogenic engine in a vacuum — simulating the space environment — would take place within a month in a new facility at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu, where the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre is situated. “We have built the facility. We have done the ground trials. We are now getting ready to test the indigenous cryogenic engine in vacuum conditions there,” Mr. Ramakrishnan said.

The GSLV-D5 will put in orbit a communication satellite in May.

Either before or after this launch in May, a PSLV would lift off from Sriharikota. It will put into orbit a satellite belonging to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). This satellite weighs 1,425 kg. Under the IRNSS, a total of seven satellites will be put in orbit.