Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oceansat-2 Indian Satellite Launched

Weeks after the ambitious Chandrayaan moon mission was called off, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday (September 23) successfully launched seven satellites in 1200 seconds with clockwork precision. ISRO placed in orbit seven satellites including Oceansat-2 within a span of 20 minutes, its first successful mission after the abrupt end of the ambitious Chandrayaan-I project.

t the end of the 51-hour countdown, the 44.4 meter tall four-stage PSLV-C14 blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here with ignition of the core first stage and put the satellites in orbit one after another.

Scientists cheered as ISRO's workhorse, PSLV soared majestically into clear skies at 11.51 AM from the spaceport in the East Coast in Andhra Pradesh, about 100 km north of Chennai, with the launch watched by Vice President Hamid Ansari.

Oceansat-2, the country's 16th remote sensing satellite, will identify potential fishing zones, sea state forecasting and coastal zone studies, besides providing inputs on weather forecasting and climate studies. A set of six nano satellites rode piggyback accompanying Oceansat-2 on its trip to orbit.

Ansari and senior scientist M G K Menon, who were present in the mission centre, congratulated ISRO scientists soon after the successful launch.

Besides two German Rubin nano satellites, other Oceansat-2 co-passengers are four cubesats: Beesat, built by Technical University Berlin, UWE-2 (University of Wuerzburg Germany), ITU-pSat(Istanbul Technical University Turkey) and SwissCube-1 (Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne, Switzerland).

ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair, addressing scientists, described it as "a perfect and precise launch." Congratulating space scientists for the fantastic achievement, Nair said, “The Oceansat-2 reached the orbit at the exact time and the mission has been successfully carried out. I am proud of my entire team and this would not have been possible without them. Through this mission the maturity of the PSLV has been demonstrated once again. The satellite launched today is a great boon to ocean community and fishermen in our country. The PM too has conveyed his appreciation and congratulations on to all the ISRO members.”

An in-orbit replacement to Oceansat-1, which was used to study physical and biological aspects of oceanography, Oceansat-2 will have a mission life of five years. Oceansat-1 has completed 10 years of space odyssey.

The nano satellites, in the two-eight kg range, are educational spacecraft from European Universities intended to test new technologies. Oceansat-2 was injected into space first and the remaining were placed in orbit one after another, officials said.

The eight band Ocean Colour Monitor carried by Oceansat-2 images a swath (strip of land or ocean) of 1,420 km with a resolution of 360 metres and works in the visible and Near infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The Scatterometer covers a swath of 1,400 km and operates continuously.

Oceansat-2, India's second satellite will study oceans as well as interaction of oceans and atmosphere and is the 16th remote sensing satellite of India. It is in the shape of a cuboid with two solar panels projecting from its sides. The satellite will map fishing zones around India, measure ocean surface wind speeds as well as atmospheric temperature and humidity.

This was PSLV's 16th mission. From September 1993 to April 2009, PSLV has been launched 15 times. Fourteen launches have been successful continuously while only one has failed so far.


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