Countdown for launch begins
The Indian Space Research Organisation began a 29-hour pre-noon countdown on Wednesday for the launch of GSLV-D6 satellite launcher.
The launch vehicle is powered by the indigenously developed upper cryogenic stage and will be flown at 4.52 p.m. on August 27 from Sriharikota in coastal Andhra Pradesh.
It will put the 2,117-kg GSAT-6 communication satellite into space. The spacecraft will be gradually moved and finally positioned over the country at 83 degrees East longitude in the coming days.
The GSLV is a medium-lift launcher that can put two-tonne satellites into an initial or geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) of up to 36,000 km from Earth. The last GSLV was flown in January 2014.
ISRO Chairman A.S.Kiran Kumar, who is also Secretary, Department of Space, said the upcoming event was doubly significant. The ninth GSLV launch, for whose success he said ISRO has taken all necessary actions, would take the 20-year-old GSLV programme almost to fruition and regularise its use.
From the satellite point of view, he said GSAT-6 would try out quite a few novel technologies that very few satellite players have tried out, such as the large, unfurlable antenna of a diameter of six metres.
ISRO’s other launch vehicle, the light-lift PSLV, is a big success after 30 flights in 22 years, lifting Indian spacecraft to Moon and Mars apart from several Earth observation satellites, a national communications satellite and 45 small foreign satellites.
ISRO officials have often said the national space programme needs the GSLV badly for launching its communication satellites; many have been put in space on European Ariane launchers at higher costs than on a GSLV.
S.Sivan, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, the lead centre for launch vehicles in Thiruvananthapuram, recently said they had retained the configuration of the previous GSLV-D5 of 2014 so as to establish the vehicle’s reliability and robustness.
Flight D6 would fully prove the vehicle and the indigenous cryogenic technology and shift the programme into functional mode. The next GSLV could be as early as the first half of 2016, Dr. Sivan said.
When the GSLV is fully achieved, ISRO plans to have two flights of it a year. Meanwhile, a GSLV-Mark III of twice its capacity is also being developed and will be flown for the first time around December 2016.
Source: The Hindu