Monday, January 3, 2011

Russia beats US and China

   The cold war rivalry in space might have ended. But competition still exists between the US and Russia.

     What better proof of this than a recent statement put out by Roscosmos that Russia has surpassed not only the US, but also China in the number of launches last year.

      It provides an interesting account of how different space faring nations performed in the critical area of rocket launches in 2010. India with just three launches has fared better than South Korea, Japan and Israel.Of the three launches, two---both of the Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)---flopped. Only the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on July 12,2010 succeeded.

      According to this report, in 2010, Russia has made almost a half of all launches in the world this year - 31 launches of 74.

    Next there come the USA and China with 15 launches each. ESA has made 6 launches, India- 3, South Korea- 1, Japan – 2, Israel -1. 4 launches in the world were unsuccessful. Out of 31 Russia’s launches, 15 have been made by the rockets produced by Khrunichev Space Center, including 12 of heavy-lift Proton. That is 2 times more than for Proton’s rival Ariane-5.

    Proton has also bet another record, with making 29 launches within 29 months.

    Significantly, this report has come at a time when director of Isro's National Remote Sensing Agency, V.Jayaraman, declared recently that India is planning to launch atleast 30 earth observation satellites in the next one decade.

     He said that the launch manifest includes Resourcesat, Cartosat, ocean and atmospheric satellites. Resourcesat-2 will be launched either towards the end of January or the beginning of February. All these satellites fortunately will be launched by the PSLV. This means that there will be less anxiety and tension during launch, unlike what happens when the Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is set to take off.

     India's performance in the rocket launch area will perhaps improve if the GSLV becomes dependable and puts up a better show.

     For this naturally we have to see what the newly formed committees--post GSLV failure--do in the coming days.    


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