ISRO to replace two ageing satellites in December

The agency is planning to send in space two rockets for the purpose.

First to fly towards the heavens will be ISRO's heavy rocket - the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) - sometime during the second week of December carrying a communication satellite GSAT 5 - intended to replace the ageing INSAT 2E.

"The INSAT 2E was launched in 1999 and is nearing the end of its life. The GSAT 5 with 36 transponders will be its replacement. Further, the new satellite is also expected to fill the void created by the partial failure of INSAT 4B," ISRO's director (publications and public relations) S. Satish told IANS.

Earlier this year, ISRO lost 50 percent of the INSAT-4B's transponder capacity (12 transponders) owing to a power snag.

The GSLV rocket is being readied at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota around 80 km from here.

ISRO officials, not wanting to be identified, told IANS a small snag was detected in one of the GSLV rocket's sub-systems. The component is being replaced after extensive testing.
Officials said the rocket's first stage is ready and other stages are being readied and the satellite weighing around 2,300 kg is expected to arrive at the launch centre sometime next month.

"The rocket assembling activity at the second launch pad will continue till Oct 25. Between that date and November, no assembling work will be carried out as the period is prone to cyclones," an official told IANS.

After the GSLV, it will be turn of ISRO's lighter rocket, the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV), which will be carrying a remote sensing satellite - Resourcesat-2. Piggy-backing on it will be two small satellites made in Singapore and Russia.

Remote sensing satellites send back pictures and other data for use. India is a major player in vending such data in the global market.

"The Resourcesat-2 will be the replacement for Resourcesat-1 launched in 2003. For sometime both will work together," Satish said.

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