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PSLV to carry Italian satellite; lift-off from Sriharikota on April 23

T.S. Subramanian

For the first time, it will fly without strap-on booster motors


  • The 360-kg Agile is meant for astronomical observations
  • AMM will monitor the performance of the vehicle

    — Photo: ISRO

    READY FOR LAUNCH: PSLV-C8 without its six strap-on booster motors.

    CHENNAI: The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C8), which will deploy an Italian satellite Agile, will lift off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on April 23.

    B.N. Suresh, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, said, "The launch preparations for PSLV-C8 are progressing satisfactorily.

    They are going on without any problem."

    The 360-kg Agile, meant for astronomical observations, has arrived at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. The PSLV-C8, the 11th in the series, will also carry the Indian Space Research Organisation's Advanced Avionics Module (AMM), which weighs about 180 kg.

    For the first time, the PSLV-C8 will fly without its six strap-on booster motors. The "core alone" vehicle will have two roll-control motors in the first stage for achieving symmetry.

    The PSLV will be launched without the strap-on motors because the weight of Agile and AMM put together is only 540 Kg.

    A PSLV with the normal configuration, which includes the strap-on motors, can put a satellite weighing 1,600 kg in orbit.

    The PSLV, a four-stage vehicle, is 44 m tall and weighs 295 tonnes. The PSLV-C8, minus the strap-on motors, will weigh around 240 tonnes.

    The Agile satellite will have payloads to investigate gamma ray bursts, pulsars and supernova remnants.

    The Agile mission is supported by the Italian Space Agency, the Italian Institute of Astrophysics and the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics. The satellite will go into a circular orbit 560 km above the earth.

    Equipment bay

    The AMM, which will monitor the performance of the vehicle, will carry an advanced computer, a next generation telemetry system and an advanced inertial navigation system. "All these new systems will be tried out. The AMM is as good as having another equipment bay," Dr. Suresh said. The AMM will be useful only as long as the flight lasts. It will go into space along with the spent fourth stage.

    Antrix Corporation, the commercial wing of the Department of Space, is receiving a fee for launching the Italian satellite.

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