Satellite will study ocean currents and sea surface heights

The launch of SARAL satellite that will study the ocean currents and sea surface heights by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-20)) from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh will take place any time between February 22 and 25. The vehicle will put six other satellites also into orbit.

As per earlier plans, a PSLV-20, with the seven satellites, was to lift off on February 13/14 from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

“Everything is fine” for the lift-off of the PSLV-C20 between February 22 and 25, said S. Ramakrishnan, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

The PSLV core-alone version was “fully stacked up” in the launch pad and “the vehicles and the satellites are all right,” he said. All the seven satellites had arrived at Sriharikota but they have not been integrated with the rocket.

It is the VSSC which has built the PSLV-C20. It is the nerve centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Asked whether fresh glitches had arisen during the testing of SARAL, he said there were “no problems.” There were “small delays” but there was always “a cushion” for the launch and so the PSLV-C20’s lift-off had now been rescheduled between February 22 and 25, Mr. Ramakrishnan said.

SARAL stands for Satellite for Argos-3 and Altika. French space agency CNES contributed the two payloads to the 400-kg SARAL: Argos-3 for data collection and Altikameter for measuring the height of the sea surface. The payloads were integrated into a satellite bus from the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore, where the entire satellite was built.