Latest reports confirm that India will launch three satellites in the next month and two more before the year ends. Reports quoting the Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), P.S. Veeraraghavan further add that next month, they will launch SPOT-6, a French satellite and a small Japanese satellite on board PSLV-C21 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket. Also scheduled for launch is GSAT-10 on board the Ariane rocket from Kourou in French Guiana. GSAT-10 is a communication satellite. Veeraraghavan also said that SPOT-6 will be in India soon, while the Japanese satellite is already at ISRO’s launch centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
India to launch 3 satellites next month (Image credit: Getty Images)
Elaborating further on the French satellite, reports add that Antrix Corporation Limited, which is the commercial arm of ISRO got into a commercial Launch Services Agreement with Astrium SAS, a company under EADS, France, for launching SPOT-6, an advanced remote sensing satellite. Weighing 800 kgs, SPOT-6, as per reports, will be the heaviest third party payload that ISRO will carry after the 350-kg Italian satellite Agile put into orbit in 2007. Further, it has been revealed that because the total weight of the luggage will be around 815 kg, ISRO will be using its Core Alone variant of PSLV (rocket without its six straps on motors).
Elaborating on the space agency's motive behind launching communication satellite GSAT-10, reports add that it plans to 'augment its communication transponder capacity – automatic receivers and transmitters for communication and broadcast of signals'. According to Veeraraghavan, they would also be launching the SARAL satellite – an Indo-French initiative – using PSLV-C20 rocket in October-November this year. Interestingly, it has been known that ISRO does not normally conduct any launches during this period, but according to Veeraraghavan, if the weather is 'conducive', then the launch could happen.
By December, or January next year, ISRO is planning to launch GSAT-14 a small communication satellite. GSAT-14 is being heralded as the replacement for India’s education satellite Edusat. For GSAT-14, heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will be used. As per reports, the spacecraft will carry with it Ka band beacons. These have been planned to be used to conduct studies pertaining to rain and atmospheric effects on Ka band satellite communication links in the Indian region.
Recently, we had reported that Astrosat, the $50 million astronomy satellite that India will put in polar circular orbit in 2013, will study the universe at multi-wavelengths for the first time. Reports quoted Scientific Secretary, V. Koteshwar Rao of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as saying, “The Astrosat mission will study for the first time the cosmic sources of the vast universe at optical, ultraviolet and X-ray wavebands simultaneously”. The 1.6-tonne satellite will be launched from the Sriharikota spaceport off the Bay of Bengal coast in Andhra Pradesh, about 90km northeast of Chennai, onboard a 300-tonne rocket with five scientific instruments to study the universe at multiple wavelengths. The instruments include a soft X-ray telescope, an ultraviolet imaging telescope, an imager and a sky scanning monitor.