TECH

ISRO Will Crank Up Rocket Capacity To Accommodate More Launches

The Indian space agency is set to launch a record 103 satellites in February.

12/01/2017 8:42 AM IST | Updated 12/01/2017 8:45 AM IST
Babu Babu / Reuters

BENGALURU -- India would maximise its rocket capability to launch more satellites for maximum return on investment, its space agency chief said on Wednesday.

"By launching 103 satellites together using one rocket next month, we are trying to maximise its capability and optimally utilise it for maximum return on investment," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told reporters here.

The record number of satellites, including 100 of foreign customers, will be launched on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) in February first week from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, about 80km north of Chennai.

"The satellites are a constellation for earth's observation from lower orbital space. It includes three Indian satellites - the 730 kg Cartosat-2D and two Inertial Navigational System INS-IA and INS-1B, with 30kg combined weight," said Kiran Kumar on the margins of a technology summit here.

The combined weight of 100 foreign micro or smaller satellites will be about 590 kg and the rocket's total payload will be 1,350 kg.

As an advanced remote sensing satellite, Cartosat-2D has a single panchromatic camera to beam scene-specific spot imageries of more than one-meter spatial resolution and a swath of 10km for cartographic applications.

The rocket will deploy Cartosat in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at 630 km altitude.

The INS IA and INS-IB use a computer, motion sensors and rotation sensors to calculate the position, orientation and velocity of a moving object without external references.

"We plan to have almost one launch a month with optimal utilisation of the rocket's capacity to carry maximum number of satellites," said Kiran Kumar after addressing the Karnataka ICT Summit 2017, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The state-run ISRO had launched 22 satellites onboard a PSLV in one go, including Cartosat-2C on June 22, 2016 from the spaceport.

The space agency is also set to launch heavier rockets - GSLV (Geo-Satellite Launch Vehicles) Mark III and Mark II for placing above four-tonne class communication satellites in the geosynchronous orbits, about 36,000km above the earth.

"We are increasing the number of PSLV and GSLV launches to increase the capacity for providing various services and reduce the shortage of transponders," added the ISRO chief.

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