NEW DELHI: Countdown for the Indian Space Research Organisation’s big launch has started at Sriharikota. An indigenous weather satellite – the INSAT 3DR — is set to begin its journey tomorrow afternoon, piggybacking on the GSLV. But more than the satellite, it is the flight of GSLV that will be crucial for India.
- The lift-off will take place at 4.10 pm from the launch pad at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- The success of GSLV (Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) is crucial for India since it will be the vehicle to launch the second mission to the moon — Chandrayaan-2 — next year.
- A successful launch will also boost India’s efforts to make a dent in the multi-billion dollar commercial space launcher market.
- The 415-tonne GSLV rocket, with its indigenous cryogenic engine, is being tested for the tenth time. This is its first operational launch.
- Dubbed the “naughty boy,” this rocket has had a patchy record, with five of its nine flights resulting in failure.
- The rocket is almost 49 meters high — as much as a 17-floor building. It weighs 415 tons — as much as the combined weight of 80 full grown elephants.
- Rocket launches are still a very risky business, which became evident when the Falcon- 9 rocket by Space-X exploded on a launch pad in USA on September 1. Space-X a private company is owned by billionaire Ellon Musk, which is now experimenting with cheaper space launches.
- The GSLV will be carrying the 2211-kg INSAT 3DR, which will eventually be placed in a geo-synchronous orbit 36,000 km above Earth.
- What makes the INSAT 3DR special is its imaging capabilities for night-time pictures. It also carries on board a special search and rescue transponder, which will help in satellite-aided rescue operations.
- Together, they represent an expenditure of Rs. 300 crore.