Final Countdown for India’s PSLV Launch Began on Wednesday

By SpaceRef Editor
July 13, 2011
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Final Countdown for India’s PSLV Launch Began on Wednesday
Final Countdown for India's PSLV Launch Began on Wednesday

MUMBAI: At sharp 11.48 a.m. local on Wednesday, the final 53-hour countdown for the launch of India’s four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying the GSAT-12 communication satellite was initiated at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

The lift off is slated for 4.48 p.m. (7:18 a.m. EDT) on Friday at Sriharikota. The launch authorisation board which met on Tuesday gave the ‘go’ for Friday’s mission. This is the second time in nine years that a PSLV is carrying a communication satellite, last time it was on September 12, 2002, when it flew India’s first dedicated meteorological satellite, Metsat–renamed as Kalpana-1 in honour of Kalpana Chawla.

The final phase of the countdown will include filling the second and fourth stages of the rocket with liquid propellants. Mandatory checks of the rocket and spacecraft, including charging of batteries and pressurisation of propellant tanks will also be performed. Readiness of various ground systems such as tracking radar systems and communication networks will also be checked.

PSLV-C17 will launch GSAT-12 satellite into an orbit of 284 km perigee (closest point to earth) and an apogee (furthest point from earth) of 21,000 km. The GSAT-12 communication satellite weighing 1410 kg with 12 extended C Band transponders will augment the country’s communication services particularly in the areas of tele medicine, tele education, societal needs to name some of the areas.

It will be the 19th flight of the PSLV, the rocket being the PSLV-XL version. The PSLV-XL rocket is an advanced version of the regular one with the six extended solid strap-on motors carrying 12 tonnes of solid propellants as against the normal nine tonnes. A similar rocket was used during India’s mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1 in October 2008.

The PSLV-XL is being used in this flight because the rocket needs needs almost 40 per cent extra velocity to put a communication satellite into a geo stationary transfer orbit.

SpaceRef staff editor.