ISRO tests rocket motor, delays
After 16 successful launches of its workhorse rocket Polar
Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in the last 17 years, the Indian
space agency is now testing a key component to re-qualify its
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) proposes to launch
the latest remote sensing satellite and two others in the second
week of April, seeking to replace a crucial component in its
fully-assembled launch vehicle by dismantling one section.
ISRO will take apart its polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) at
the Sriharikota launch facility some 80 km from here to substitute
the existing gas motor with an upgraded one, ISRO sources said.
"We know that our four-stage rocket is fully assembled. However,
since the gas motor is in an inaccessible location in the second
stage it has to be opened up for us to remove the previous one and
fit a newer one," an ISRO official told IANS.
The official also said after the agency's last two missions
involving its heavy rocket -- geo-synchronous satellite launch
vehicle (GSLV) -- ended in failures, resulting in a total loss of
some Rs.600 crore, top officials wanted to be all the more
The launch of the three satellites -- Indian 1,200-kg
Resourcesat-2, Indo-Russian 93-kg-Youthsat and Singapore's 103-kg
X-Sat -- was earlier slated for February. They will send pictures
and other data for various uses. India is a major global player in
The official explained that the gas motor tested a
temperature-tolerance level of some 390 degree Celsius but in
order to be sure that the gas motor tolerates a higher
temperature, some more calibrations had to be done.
The gas motor powers and helps manoeuvre the rocket's second-stage
operations, which in turn, enable the rocket to maintain a steady
course on its way up. This motor is powered by the hot gases
tapped from the rocket, the official explained.
The 44-metre-tall PSLV rocket has a four-stage rocket powered by
solid propellants in the first and third stage and liquid
propellants in the other two.
India has the largest constellation of remote-sensing satellites
providing imageries in a variety of spatial resolutions. The
operational remote sensing satellites include the Cartosat-2B,
Oceansat-2, RISAT-2, Cartosat-2A, IMS-1, Cartosat-2, Resourcesat-1
Officials said for some time, Resourcesat-2 and Resourcesat-1
would work together before the latter goes into oblivion. Launched
in 2003, Resourcesat-1 has outlived its original mission life of
The other remote-sensing satellites which the space agency plans
to launch are RISAT, Megha-Tropiques, INSAT-3D, and the Astrosat
-- a satellite for astronomy to observe celestial bodies.
Jagannathan can be reached at email@example.com)