Sunday, April 19, 2009

India's spy and education satellites to be put in space Monday

Chennai: The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) rocket will early Monday put into orbit the country's first all-weather spy and educational satellites.
The 229-tonne Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C12 (PSLV) will blast off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, 80 km north of here, at 6.45 a.m.
The rocket's payload or the luggage will have Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-2), which can see through fog, clouds and even at night, and Anusat, the first educational satellite developed by the Anna University.
A rocket navigation system developed by the ISRO will be guiding the PSLV on its 15th flight. ISRO first tested its new avionics systems called Advanced Avionics Module (AAM) on board PSLV that was launched in April 2007 with two equipment bays.
The first bay had ISRO's regular navigation systems while the second one had the 185 kg AAM. The weight was lower than the existing navigation systems.
Satisfied with the test flight results, the Indian space agency initially thought of inducting the indigenous systems into operation first in its bigger rocket Geo Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and later in PSLV. However, the scheme of deployment has been reversed now.
"The ISRO developed microprocessor Vikram is faster than what is being used till date," S. Satish, director of publications and public relations, told IANS. While ISRO officials termed RISAT-2 - an all weather satellite to be used for remote sensing purposes - the presence of a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) built by Israel Aerospace Industries gives it defence capabilities. None of ISRO's other remote sensing satellites are equipped with the SAR.
ISRO is in the process of developing its own SAR that will be fitted on a much bigger satellite. RISAT-2 weighs 300 kg and will have a life span of three years.
Meanwhile, the micro-education satellite Anusat, with a weight of 40 kg and a life span of one year, will carry out drought and wasteland monitoring, urban planning and other studies. "Anusat is expected to prod other Indian universities to built satellites and focus on space technologies," Satish said.

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