IAF aerospace command dream in limbo

IAF aerospace command dream in limbo

The aerospace command was thought of as an integral component in the bouquet of counter-measures being planned to tackle China’s progress in space, which Beijing demonstrated by killing satellites in the orbit and sending an astronaut to the space.

While the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) claimed to have come out with capabilities to destroy low earth orbit satellites, a partnership between DRDO and IAF is being worked out to realise the futuristic command in which two IAF satellites — GSAT 7 and GSAT 7A — play a pivotal role.

“Both satellites are delayed by a year because there is a problem with engines even though the payloads have been defined,” IAF chief NAK Browne said adding all services were looking for an integrated space command.

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) satellite launch schedule went haywire due to a series of failures in the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle programme (GSLV) since 2006. The accidents also resulted in the loss of imported Russian cryogenic engines.

The space agency is now left with only one out of six Russian cryogenic engine, which it does not want to put into any rocket. Isro plans to undertake all of its future GSLV flights with indigenous cryogenic engines, which has met with failures so far.

In 2010, two GSLV flights within a gap of eight months failed due to serious technical snags in the indigenous engines.  

“A modified cryogenic engine is in the works, which will be flight tested in the first half of 2012,” said Isro spokesperson S Satish.

Isro officials are of the opinion that the first payload (GSAT-6) to be fitted with the next GSLV will not be a high-technology payload.

If the 2012 flight succeeds, then plans would be drawn up for the first IAF satellite GSAT-7, a 2,330-kg multi-band satellite carrying payloads in UHF, S-band, C-band and Ku-band. The officials are, however, tight lipped about the payload configuration of GSAT-7A.

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