T.S. Subramanian

ISRO to launch Polaris on "core-alone" configuration PSLV

  • It gets contract to put in orbit six micro satellites from Canada
  • Italian Space Agency receives signals from Agile

    CHENNAI: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch an Israeli satellite, called Polaris, through a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in August from Sriharikota.

    The satellite, weighing 300 kg, can take pictures of the earth through cloud and rain, 24 hours of the day.

    Informed sources said the Israelis wanted a "core-alone" configuration of the PSLV to put Polaris in orbit and the launch in August.

    For the first time, a core-alone configuration of the PSLV, called PSLV-C8, lifted off from Sriharikota on Monday and put in orbit Italian satellite Agile.

    In normal configuration, the PSLV has six strap-on booster motors around the first stage.

    The PSLV is a four-stage vehicle that is 44 metres tall and weighs 295 tonnes. In the core-alone vehicle, these six strap-on booster motors are not used. So the core-alone PSLV weighs 230 tonnes.

    On international rates

    Commercial marketing agency of the Department of Space Antrix Corporation Limited will fly Polaris on board a core-alone PSLV at international rates.

    ISRO has bagged another contract from Israel. In 2008, it will fly an ultra-violet astronomy telescope from Israel on board ISRO's GSAT-4 that will be launched by the indigenous GSLV (Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) from Sriharikota.

    The ultra-violet astronomy telescope is called TAUVEX (Tel Aviv University Ultra-violet Experiment.)

    Yet another contract

    Antrix Corporation has also won a contract for ISRO to put in orbit a cluster of six micro satellites from Canada. These six micro-satellites totally weigh 26 kg.

    A PSLV core-alone configuration will again be used to put these satellites in orbit.

    They will ride piggyback on ISRO's Cartosat-2A, which will be used for mapping purposes.

    This launch will take place before this year-end.

    The sources said Agile satellite was working well. Signals from it have been acquired by the Italian Space Agency's ground station at Malindi in Kenya. It had now been placed in a sun-pointing mode.

    Agile will make astronomical observations such as bursts of gamma rays and X-rays, which can unlock the secrets of the origin of the universe and studying neutron stars.

    Giovanni Bignami, president, Italian Space Agency, said at a press conference at Sriharikota on April 23 that Agile would enhance the contribution of astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar on study of neutron stars.

    (Chandra X-ray observatory, a large NASA scientific satellite, has provided invaluable information on the violent phenomena taking place in the universe by detecting bursts of X-rays which result from such phenomena).

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