Friday, October 29, 2010

Mark-minus 42 days and counting.

           About 42 days left. At Sriharikota hectic activity is in progress with scientists and engineers working 24X7. Right now all systems are a ``go.''

           The mission  The three-stage Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) powered with a Russian cryogenic engine will fly the indigenous GSat-5p communication satellite. Expected date of launch. December 10,2010.

           The satellite. developed and designed at the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre, weighs around 2000 kg. It is equipped with 12 normal c-band and six extended c-band transponders with wider coverage in uplink and downlink over Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe as well as zonal coverage. It will have a 12-year life span and will enhance telecommunication services.

             On Saturday, Isro officials told `Beyond Moon and Mars,'' that integration work is in progress at Sriharikota.

             Many scientists are keeping their fingers crossed and are praying for the success of the mission. The track record of the Gslv after all is not as even as that of the Pslv--a fact even acknowledged by none other than former Isro chief Madhavan Nair. Added to this is the fact that the weather at Sriharikota should not play spoilt sport. Chances of cyclonic conditions developing cannot be completely ruled out.

           If all is a `go'  and the mighty rocket lifts off and places the satellite in the geo stationary transfer orbit at an altitude of 30,000 kms prior to it moving to its permanent home 36,000 kms above the equator after an about 15-minute flight, be sure scientists will heave a sigh of relief!
         With this mission, Isro will have just a single Russian-supplied cryogenic engine. This means that as of now just one more Gslv flight is possible until the indigenous engine is ready for operations---the previous Gslv flight with an India-made engine failed. It is for this reason that Russia is keen on renegotiating with India for the supply of additional cryogenic engines for the future Gslv missions.

            In this scenario the question is whether Isro will wait for its scientists to declare with complete confidence that the indigenous one is ready to power more Gslv missions. Or will it ask for additional engines for Russia so that the schedule remains unaffected?  

            Interesting developments ahead.



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