“One of the achievements” of the successful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C17) mission that put the communication satellite GSAT-12 in orbit on Friday was that it used an indigenous computer, Vikram, with advanced software in the rocket's navigation, guidance and control systems, said K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This advanced mission computer helped the rocket put the satellite accurately in orbit.
Mr. Radhakrishnan told a press conference here that the ISRO-developed Vikram had indigenous processors both in the primary and standby mode. The ISRO had tested the indigenous software and only after it was found flight-worthy, was it used in the mission.
T.K. Alex, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, said the coming days would be “interesting” because commands would be given from the Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan, Karnataka, to the liquid apogee motor (LAM) on board the GSAT-12 to take the satellite from its present sub geo-synchronous transfer orbit (GTO) to a circular geo-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km. Dr. Alex was confident that the ISRO would do this with the experience gained from the Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008, “which was almost similar” to the GSAT-12 mission.
S. Ramakrishnan, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, ISRO, called Friday's success “yet another feather in the cap of the PSLV and the ISRO.”
A GSLV with an indigenous cryogenic stage would be launched from Sriharikota by June 2012, said P.S. Veeraraghavan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
Asked whether the PSLV-XL version would be used more often to put the ISRO's communication satellites in orbit than India's Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) or the Ariane vehicle of Arianespace, Dr. Radhakrishnan said the GSLVs were “more efficient and powerful” than the PSLVs. The GSLVs could put a 2.2-tonne communication satellite in a GTO but the PSLV-XL version could put only a 1.4 tonne communication satellite in a sub-GTO.
The GSAT-12, with its 12 extended C-band transponders, would boost ISRO's transponder capacity from 175 to 187. The ISRO had 211 transponders from its communication satellites at the beginning of the 11th Plan but it went down to 141 by April 2011 because of a series of failures with the GSLV flights. Dr. Radhakrishnan was confident that the ISRO's transponder capacity would go up to 215 by April 2012 with a series of launches of communication satellites from India and abroad. For instance, the GSAT-10, with 30 transponders, would be launched by an Ariane vehicle from Kourou island in French Guiana in April 2012.
An arbitration process would get under way between Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Department of Space, and the Devas Multimedia Private Limited if the negotiations between the senior officials of the ISRO and Devas did not fructify, the ISRO Chairman said. (The ISRO annulled the allocation of 3G spectrum to Devas after allegations were made that the spectrum was sold to Devas at a low price). If arbitration was resorted to, the ISRO and Devas would each name an arbitrator of their own and these two would name another arbitrator. During the arbitration, which would take place in New Delhi, the Indian laws apply, he added.
“Good progress” had been achieved in realising the orbiter, lander and rover of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, slated to take place in 2014, said Mr. Alex. While India would make the orbiter and the rover, Russia would contribute the lander. The rover was undergoing tests in Bangalore on how to cross the obstacles on the lunar soil. Its engineering model would soon be ready.