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PSLV-C16 launch today

T.S. Subramanian


This is the 18 {+t} {+h} launch of the PSLV

It has a track record of 16 uninterrupted successes


CHENNAI: The 54-hour countdown that began at 3.40 a.m. on April 18 for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C16) from the space station at Sriharikota on Wednesday is in smooth progress, according to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spokesperson S. Sathish.

“There is no problem. The launch is expected to take place around 10.12 a.m.,” said Mr. Satish.

This is the 18 {+t} {+h} launch of the PSLV, which has an impressive track record of 16 uninterrupted successes. The first launch in September 1993 was not a success. Since then, the PSLV has been on a winning streak. It has three configurations: standard, core-alone and XL.

In the current flight, the standard version, with six solid strap-on booster motors strung around the first stage, is used. In this configuration, the four-stage PSLV weighs 295 tonnes and is 44 metres tall.

In the core-alone version, the vehicle has no strap-on motors. The core-alone PSLV is used to put lighter satellites in orbit.

A powerful XL version was used to put Chandrayaan-1 into orbit in October 2008.

The PSLV-C16 will put into orbit three satellites — India's remote-sensing satellite Resourcesat-2; an India-Russian satellite named Youthsat; and a mini-satellite, X-Sat, from the Nangyang Technological University of Singapore.

Resourcesat-2, weighing 1206 kg, has a rare combination of three cameras with high, medium and coarse resolutions. The high resolution cameras can take both black & white and colour pictures. It can take images of land as wide as 70 km. The images can be used for locating ground water or minerals, estimate crop acreage, find out the health of the crops, identify rich fishing zones in the sea, categorise wastelands that can help in their reclamation, map coastal zones, keep a watch on water-bodies such as reservoirs, lakes and canals, and so on.

Resourcesat-2 has an additional payload called Automatic Identification System from Canada. This can provide information on the position of ships, their speed etc. The satellite has a mission life of five years.

The 92-kg Youthsat has three payloads — one from Russia and two from the ISRO. They can be used to study the ionosphere, solar X-ray fluxes and their effect on the upper layers of the earth's atmosphere.

The 106-kg X-Sat is a remote-sensing satellite. It can take images of the earth, process them and transmit more refined images to the ground.

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