NATIONAL

PSLV-C17 countdown ‘progressing smoothly'

The countdown for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV - C17) at Sriharikota is on without any holds and if the situation holds good, the rocket will lift off at 4.48 p.m. on Friday and put in orbit communications satellite GSAT-12.

The 53-hour countdown, which began at 11.48 a.m. on July 13, “is progressing smoothly without any problem,” spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) S. Satish said on Thursday. “All the mandatory checks on the vehicle and the satellite have been completed successfully.”

The filling of the second and fourth stages of the rocket with liquid propellants was in progress. The first stage, the third stage and six strap-on booster motors strung around the first stage use solid fuel, he pointed out.

After the failure of two Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) flights in April, 2010 and December 2010 to put GSAT-4 and GSAT-5P respectively in orbit, the ISRO is in dire need of transponders to meet the burgeoning needs of communication in the country.

So the ISRO has resorted to the use of its trusted workhorse, the PSLV, to put GSAT-12 in orbit.

The GSAT-12 will have a mission life of about eight years.

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