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PSLV-C14 lift-off today

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READY TO SOAR: The PSLV-C14 on its pedestal at Sriharikota.
READY TO SOAR: The PSLV-C14 on its pedestal at Sriharikota.

T.S. Subramanian

To put Oceansat-2 and 6 nano satellites in orbit

CHENNAI: With the 48-hour countdown proceeding smoothly, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C14) is all set to lift off from Sriharikota at 11.51 a.m. on Wednesday. It will put India’s Oceansat-2 and six foreign nano satellites in orbit.

“Everything is okay so far. Things are working as per plan,” said M.Y.S. Prasad, Range Operations Director for the mission.

“We started the countdown at 9 a.m. on Monday. We keep a couple of hours as reserve.” The filling of the rocket’s fourth stage with liquid fuel was over and that of the second stage began on Tuesday evening, said Dr. Prasad, who is also Associate Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

Indian Space Research Organisation spokesman S. Satish said: “The weather is benign. The countdown operations are progressing satisfactorily. The launch will take place between 11.51 a.m. and 12.06 p.m. on Wednesday.”

The PSLV is powered by liquid fuel in the second and fourth stages and by solid fuel in the first and third stages. The PSLV-C14 is a core-alone version, which does not have six booster rockets strapped to the first stage as in the standard version.

The four stages of the 44-metre tall PSLV-C14, weighing 230 tonnes, were stacked up in a gigantic structure called the Mobile Service Tower (MST) in the first launch pad on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.

A few hours before ignition, the MST, which weighs 3,200 tonnes, will roll slowly to its parking place on 32 wheels, eight in each corner, on a twin rail track. The PSLV-C14 will then stand majestically on its launch pedestal.

While the Oceansat-2 weighs 960 kg, four of the nano satellites, Cubesat-1, 2, 3 and 4, weigh one kg each. Rubinsat 9.1 and 9.2 weigh 8 kg each. The fourth stage will put all of them in orbit at an altitude of 720 km.

The Oceansat-2 will fly out first, followed by the four Cubesats. The Rubinsats will remain permanently attached to the rockets’ fourth stage. This means the fourth stage will go into orbit.

Oceansat payloads

The Oceansat-2 has three payloads: an ocean colour monitor, a scatterometer and a Radio Occultation Sounder for Atmospheric Studies from Italy. They will help to study the oceans’ colour, probe the important role played by the oceans in shaping the earth’s climate, research the interaction of the oceans with the atmosphere and estimate the water vapour content in the atmosphere.

The satellite will also help to identify schools of fish, predict the onset of monsoons and monitor coastal water pollution.

The six nano satellites, built by universities in Europe, will test innovative spacecraft technologies.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari will witness the launch.


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