Friday, July 15, 2011

Congrats Isro

        Isro you have a way of keeping India's flag flying really high. Keep it up. Once again you have done this nation proud. A great feeling indeed.

       On Friday evening ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' sat glued to the TV watching the highly-proven four-stage 44.4 tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) ferry the 1410 kg communication satellite, Gsat-12 to its orbit.

       The execution of this extremely complex mission was done with considerable precision and everything went off smoothly as planned to the relief of the Isro team, especially its chairman, K.Radhakrishnan. Each time there was an announcement that the performance was normal, it triggered a loud applause among the scientists and engineers in the hi-tech mission control room at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

        The primary role of this flight is to enhance communications and increase the number of transponders. GSat-12 will have a societal role relating mainly to the areas like tele medicine, tele education and also in village resource centres.

        This super successful mission has two important aspects. First, for the first time an indigenous advanced mission computer, Vikram,  is being used for navigating, guiding and controlling the rocket. Second, it is for the first time that the satellite was placed in what is known as a sub geo synchronous transfer orbit with the apogee being at 21,000 kms. ``This became necessary because of the powerful capability of the rocket,'' said an Isro official.

        In the next five days, through five critical manouvres the altitude of the satellite will be raised from 21,000 kms to its permanent home at 36,000 kms in the geo synchronous orbit.  ``This is an extremely complex exercise and we are keeping our fingers crossed,'' said an Isro official. The liquid apogee motor of the satellite will be used to raise both the apogee and perigee of the satellite to place it in a circular orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kms.

           An interesting feature of this programme is the powerful role of not only computer power, but also girl power. Three key figures involved with the GSat-12 project are woman. They are T.K.Anuradha, K.S.Anuradha and Pramodha Hegde. Project director, T.K.Anuradha, has been quoted as saying that designing and developing the satellite was a challenge because the team had to pack the power and reaction control systems in a small bus in the satellie. She compared it to constructing a big bungalow in a small plot of land.

           Speaking to the Isro scientists post launch from the mission control room, T.K.Anuradha said that she was happy that the satellite was operating normally.

          As the rocket flew higher and higher, and the various stages performed satisfactorily, GSat-12 separated 1190 seconds after lift off setting off a loud applause among the scientists in the mission control room. There was an exchange of congratulatory handshakes and the mood in the control room which was so far tense gave way to one of joy, relief and excitement.

          Addressing the Isro team, Radhakrishnan declared that the GSat-12 had been injected precisely to its orbit. 

          Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, P.S.Veeraraghavan, said that the PSLV had attained maturity. ``The success of the mission will help to improve PSLV's brand all over the world,'' he said.

          Immediately after the mission was over, BMM filed two reports to two different agencies and downloaded the launch video from a TV channel.

          Like the mission itself, the recording has come out very well.       

          Once again let BMM declared: ``Isro you have done us proud.''



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