Snag holds up satellite launch

Snag holds up satellite launch

Snag holds up satellite launch

A gram of elusive dust particle has played havoc with the launch of the communication satellite GSAT-10. The satellite’s launch which was scheduled to take place by September 22, has now been delayed.

The technical snag was discovered on Monday when the satellite was nearly ready for launch.

“We suspect that one gram of dust particle entered one of the satellites in the launch vehicle. The heat shield around the satellite was closed when the leakage was detected in the air hose connecting the launch pad and the satellite. In the process, dust might have entered either of the satellites,” said K Radhakrishnan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The other satellite with GSAT in the vehicle is ASTRA- I. He added that this was a suspicion and would be clarified by September 19.

“If it is found that the satellite is in order, it can be launched by September 29. If a technical problem is detected, then it would be delayed by a few more days,” he said.

GSAT-10, weighing 3,400 kg at lift-off, will carry 30 communication transponders and the high-powered satellite will be inducted into the INSAT system. The cost of the project is Rs 750 crore.

Mars Orbiter in Nov 2013

The Mars Orbiter, a Rs 450-crore project, will be ready for launch in November 2013, the ISRO chairman said. The ideal time to launch the spacecraft is when the planet is closest to the Earth. This happens once every 26 months and the next such occasion will be in November 2013. It will take 300 days for it to get close to the Martian surface.

Radhakrishnan said the greatest challenge in launching Mars Orbiter was to monitor the communication system as it would take 20 minutes for a signal from the Earth to reach the spacecraft. The radio frequency systems need to be upgraded, he observed.

58 missions

The ISRO has planned 58 space missions for the next five years. Of these, 33 will be satellites and 25 launch vehicles, including the PSLV and the GSLV. The space research organisation is also expecting a huge raise in the budgetary allocation this time. Space applications useful to society, giving a push to the telecommunication sector, will be the focus. With respect to human space missions, it is still in the research stage for upgrading in technology. Once the project begins, it will take seven years for completion, Radhakrishnan said, hinting that there were no human space missions planned for now.

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