ISRO readies for a busy 2019

The PSLV-C43 with the HysIS and 30 other satellites taking off from Sriharikota. PTI  

Novel geostationary remote-sensing spacecraft watching from a high perch. A wasted rocket stage innovatively put to work again in orbit. A utilitarian small wonder called the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle.

These are a few missions promising to debut from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s basket in the new year.

ISRO’s 2019 calendar is dotted with 32 new missions, an ambitious record-making goal for the most number of Indian missions in a year. In contrast, 2018 saw about 14 missions against a goal of 18, including the failed GSAT-6A satellite of April.

The new year’s very first mission is set for January and will try out a unique experiment to re-control and rework the fourth and last stage of the PSLV-C44 rocket after it completes its job in space. C-44 is slated to carry the 150/200-kg special purpose Microsat-R to a low-Earth polar orbit.

ISRO readies for a busy 2019

Stage 4 or PS4 takes the satellite to the last lap of desired height (anywhere between 400 km and 700 km.) Job done, it floats there for several years as space junk.

ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said the trial with the expired fourth rocket stage would easily be the first of its kind by any space agency. It would show PS4 as a unique cost-saving test bed for new technologies.

“Stage 4 of the PSLV rocket usually goes into orbit as debris once the satellite is released. We want to see if we can use it as a low-cost experimental platform for students working in space-related areas and for our own technologies,” he said.

The PSLV’s fourth and final stage weighs about 450 kg and equals two micro satellites (100-500 kg class). A full test satellite of that size can cost around ₹200 crore, an avoidable expense in the high-risk space business. Also, some piggyback trial payloads can use such test beds and not eat up precious space or add to the weight of a working satellite. Dr. Sivan said the revived stage of the PSLV-C44 flight would be equipped with solar power systems to keep it working and monitored from ground.

Speaking about other missions, Dr. Sivan said the the satellite and launcher plans will meet applications, communication, remote sensing requirements as also showcase science and new technologies.

“The set of PSLV missions will launch Earth observation satellites Microsat-R, EMISAT, a bigger Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT and Oceansat-3. The third-generation Cartosat-3 will have a very high resolution of 0.25 cm,” he explained.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 12:33:38 AM |

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