India mulling second rocket port: Space agency chief

October 12th, 2011 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS  

ISRO Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Oct 12 (IANS) To increase the frequency of satellite launches and to cash in on the international market for launching remote sensing satellites, the Indian space agency is mulling another space port and adding more facilities here, a top official said Wednesday.

“A feasibility study on building second space port like the one in Sriharikota will be made during the 12th (Five Year) Plan (2012-17)period. The study will look at the need, economics, safety and other aspects,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K.Radhakrishnan told reporters here after the successful launch of rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to put four satellites into orbit.

He said there are good global enquiries for launching remote sensing/earth observation satellites using PSLV rockets.

“We have launched 27 foreign satellites till date using PSLV as co-passengers. There are several requests for launching small remote sensing satellites,” Radhakrishnan said.

He said the outlay for a new spaceport will be not less than Rs.1000 crore.

According to him a new launch site is also looked at to enable launch of heavier remote sensing satellites.

He said the space agency is planning to build another rocket assembly building so as to utilise effectively the existing two launch pads here.

“The frequency of launches are increasing and it takes around 45-60 days to make the launch pad ready after one launch,” Radhakrishnan said.

He said ISRO has lined up two more rocket launch missions this year - the Risat microwave remote sensing satellite and SARAL to study the oceans.

ISRO officials told IANS on condition of anonymity that any launch site in India has to be along the coast and not inland as the areas are densely populated unlike other countries.

Even along the coast, care should be taken to locate the launch site in a way that the rockets do not overfly other countries during their initial flight duration, officials said.

Queried about the status of indigenous cryogenic engine that would power ISRO’s heavier rocket geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) S.Ramakrishnan, director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) said the agency had identified the reasons for the failure of the first engine during a flight.

“We have studied the design of booster pumps and redesigned it. The computer simulation was done and validated. One more long duration test of the cryogenic engine will be made by the end of this month,” he said.

“The next GSLV will be launched with an indigenous cryogenic engine,” added P.S.Veeraraghavan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

Queried about the one remaining Russian cryogenic engine, Radhakrishnan said one of its component has to be corrected by the suppliers before it could be used.

According to ISRO officials the next moon mission - Chandrayaan-2 - will be sometime in 2013 or 2014 after flying two GSLV rockets with indigenous cryogenic engines.

Radhakrishnan said two satellites - AstroSat and Aditya - will be launched in 2012-13.

Terming Wednesday’s PSLV-C18 launch a grand success Radhakrishnan said: “The Megha-Tropiques - one of the four satellites carried aloft - is unique as it would help in understanding tropical weather through the data the satellite would send.”

He said for an agrarian country like India, the satellite will help in better predicting the weather.

The satellite is a joint effort between ISRO and the French space agency Centre National d’√Čtudes Spatiales (CNES).

Radhakrishnan said the total cost of the satellite is Rs.172 crore shared equally by ISRO and CNES. The cost of the rocket is Rs.90 crore.

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