ISRO Hopes PSLV Upgrade Allows India to Launch Eight Rockets Per Year
[Satellite TODAY 09-16-10] The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is stepping up its production to launch eight spacecraft a year in order to meet increasing demand, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director P. Veeraraghavan said Sept 14.
According to Veeraraghavan, ISRO earned revenues of $250 million from commercial launch of satellites this year and is expecting a growth of 20 to 30 percent over the next few years.
“Right now, we have four launches per year including PSLV and Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). We need to throughput in getting various sub-systems from industries and increase our own internal work to increase it into eight launches a year … We are capable of launching any spacecraft in polar orbit. But in geo-stationary orbit, we are short of capabilities. We could only launch a satellite with a payload of 2,380 kg,” said Veeraraghavan.
ISRO, which is still planning to launch its GSLV Mark 3 vehicle in 2011 or 2012, said it would be launching three satellites on the PSLV and one through GSLV in the span of a few weeks in December. “Through PSLV, we will launch ResourceSat besides two satellites of 90 kilogram each from Singapore and from Russia. Through GSLV we will put into orbit GSAT-5, a communication satellite.”
The PSLV rocket uses a PSOM-XL motor, which is built by Ramakrishna Engineering. While the standard PSLV is able to carry nine tons of propellant, a new version of the PSOM-XL will have the capacity to carry 12 tons, which would increase the launcher’s capability from 1,450 kg to 1,750 kg for a sun synchronous orbit. “The motor will be used in the launch of PSLV C18 and PSLV C19 in the middle of next year,” said Veeraraghavan.
In July, ISRO successfully launched its PSLV-C15 rocket carrying five satellites into orbit. The rocket took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, carrying a remote sensing satellite, the Cartosat 2B and one pico-satellite called StudSat, made by engineering college students of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The other satellites were Alsat from Algeria and two nano-satellites from Canada and Switzerland.
The launch, which was postponed in March, was a much-needed boost to the agency, coming three months after its GSLV D3 rocket crashed into the Bay of Bengal when it experienced an engine failure in April.
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