Friday, June 18, 2010

India: More Remote Sensing Satellites Soon

Business week reports that India plans to put five remote- sensing satellites into orbit in the first half of next month after fixing a rocket “anomaly” that forced it to delay launches in May.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will carry India’s Cartosat-2B, Algeria’s ALSAT-2A and two small satellites from the University of Toronto, P.S. Veeraraghavan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, said by phone today from the southern city of Thiruvananthapuram. The fifth unit will be a one-kilogram satellite built by Indian students, he said.

The agency, based in Thiruvananthapuram, has corrected the anomaly, which was in the second stage of the rocket, Veeraraghavan said. The delay had disrupted India’s challenge to China, Japan, and South Korea as it competes for commercial- satellite launches.

In April, India also failed in its bid to join a group of five nations using their own rocket technology to launch large satellites into higher orbits when scientists lost control of the 50-meter (164 feet) GSLV-D3 spacecraft minutes after blastoff.

“The reasons for the failure are still being analyzed and we expect a report in a month’s time,” Veeraraghavan said.

India is planning a $2.5 billion unmanned mission to space by 2015 and is slated to launch a second unmanned moon craft Chandrayaan II at a cost of $87.5 million before March 2013.

The Asian nation launched its first space rocket in 1963 and its first satellite in 1975. The country’s satellite program consists of 21 orbiters, of which 11 are currently in service.


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