Satellites are fine, Saral's solar panels deployed: Isro

After the successful launch of the PSLV-C20 from Sriharikota on Monday, all satellites including the Indo-French “Saral” were said to be “doing fine” and all subsequent operations are proceeding normally.

“The health of all the seven satellites (placed in a polar sun-synchronous orbit) is good,” Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) sources told Deccan Herald on Tuesday. Most importantly Saral’s solar panels were deployed. It will be the source of energy during the five-year mission life period, sources said. All subsequent operations “are proceeding normally.”

This has come as a shot in the arm for Isro’s new mission titled “Indian Mini-Satellite (IMS) Bus Series-2” to launch medium-sized payloads.

While Isro’s “Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network” in Bangalore has taken over the Saral’s monitoring and control operations, sources said the process of “switching on” the two key instrument-payloads built by the French National Space
Agency (Cnes) was on.

The two payloads on board are the “Altika Radar”, which will operate in the Ka band (37.75 Ghz) frequency, and the “Argos” payload which will collect a variety of data from ocean buoys and transmit them to a global centralised data collection platform.

According to the Cnes, the Altika payload is unique as it uses a technique called “Satellite Radar Altimetry”. It helps measure global sea-surface height, a key parameter for understanding ocean circulation and its variations, more so for climate change studies. 

Referring to how the principle works, the Cnes said: “The satellite measures the return-trip time of a radar signal bounced off the earth’s surface. The Altika radar is a compact instrument capable of more accurate measurements than its predecessors.” The mission’s ultimate goal was to improve observations of “ice, coastal zones and continental waters”, it added.

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