Future missions

Print edition : October 22, 2004

ANTRIX Corporation, the commercial wing of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), earned a revenue of Rs.300 crores in the last financial year (2003-04), a 30 per cent increase over the previous year's. The net profit was Rs.30 crores. ISRO made this money by selling imageries of its remote-sensing spacecraft, offering its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to launch other countries' satellites, and selling spacecraft components to international organisations including a Japanese agency.

India has 15 per cent of the global market-share in selling remote-sensing imageries. Antrix had already signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for putting in orbit an Italian satellite called Agile. The PSLV to be launched from Sriharikota in February 2005 will put Agile in orbit. A PSLV will also deploy a satellite belonging to Singapore.

"Our [remote-sensing] imageries are world-class. We are able to compete in the international market. More than 15 per cent of the global sales are with us. RESOURCESAT will further boost it," said ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair.

Three GSLV successes in a row removed ISRO's dependency on foreign launchers to put in orbit 2,000 kg or 2,500 kg class of INSATs. Other than the INSATs contracted to fly by the ESA's Ariane vehicles, it is India's own GSLV that will in future put in orbit the 2-tonne class INSATs.

According to K. Narayana, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR, the state-of-the-art second launch pad built at the Sriharikota cosmodrome would be blooded for the first time when the PSLV would lift off from it in February 2005. That PSLV would orbit CARTOSAT-1 and the Agile spacecraft.

In the past six months, the second launch pad had undergone validation tests for the PSLV integration and servicing of liquid propellants. "We are ready to start the PSLV integration in the second pad and launch it. We were in fact waiting for this launch to be completed", Narayana said. The second launch pad would soon undergo qualification tests for the cryogenic stage of the GSLV. "By the middle of the next year, we will be ready for the GSLV launch from the second pad," he said.

On the development of the indigenous cryogenic engine to power the third stage of the GSLV, N. Vedachalam, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), ISRO, said it had been successfully developed and undergone several qualification tests at the LPSC, Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. The indigenous cryogenic stage, which would encase the engine, control, guidance and navigation systems, was under assembly now. Russia has supplied the upper cryogenic stages of the three GSLV flights so far.

Chandrayan-1, ISRO's mission to send a satellite to moon to study its physical, chemical, physio-chemical properties, and its crater history, was proceeding as per plan, ISRO sources connected with the mission said. The PSLV would launch the Chandrayan-1 in 2007 from Sriharikota. "A lot of systems have been developed on the spacecraft side," said the sources. The vehicle is ready. Work is under way to establish the tracking network. Chandrayan-1 would hover about 100 km above the moon's surface and beam back pictures of the moon's soil, craters and so on. It would weigh 1,050 kg in the geo-synchronous transfer orbit but only 523 kg in the lunar orbit.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor