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ISRO plans two more vehicle launch this year

Sriharikota: ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan (C) and other scientists during a press conference after the successful launch of PSLV C-15 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, on Monday. PTI Photo

SRIHARIKOTA (PTI): ISRO Monday announced it would launch two more vehicles this year and said preparation for the unmanned moon mission in 2013 was in full swing with the setting up of one more launch pad.

"In the next three months, we will launch GSLV-F06, which will carry GSAT-5, a communication satellite and PSLV-C16, that will carry 'Resourcesat2' a remote sensing satellite," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan told reporters soon after the successful launch of remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2B.

The launch campaign for GSLV-F06 would start in two days, he said, adding "we expect the launch to take place somewhere during end of September or first week of October".

He said GSAT-5 is a fully communication satellite, which would have C-band and external C-band transponders, useful for television broadcasting and business communication.

"This satellite will also replace some of the ageing vehicles that are currently in orbit," he said.

On the PSLV mission, he said PSLV-C16 would carry an advance sensor satellite to provide multi-spectral data at different resolutions.

ISRO Satellite System Director Dr T K Alex said, "This satellite can be used in many applications, including agriculture, forestry, water resources and coastal zones. It can also provide 70 km and 6 meter resolution data," he added.

On the proposed unmanned moon mission, Radhakrishnan said ISRO has planned to launch the first test mission with an unmanned capsule on PSLV, which will be put into orbit and will be recovered soon after the mission.

Radhakrishnan said all new elements for the unmanned launch have been designed. "We have gone to system concept reviews. The first level of definitions and specifications has been drawn up," he said.

"We need to have the orbital vehicle, namely the capsule and its design and then develop the environmental control and life support system, which will be followed by crew escape system that will be very vital in case of mission abort," he said.

These modules would be evaluated by launch of PSLV unmanned mission, he said, adding it would give them confidence, help evaluate the total system for its survival in the space environment on how the entire system behaves.

To a question on whether ISRO had set a timeframe for the manned mission, he said, "I don't want to commit the date unless we start the programme".

As a preparatory measure, ISRO has prepared a road map with an initial plan to put two humans in orbit around Earth, keep them there for seven days and bring them back safely, he said.

Radhakrishnan said scientists would work on the crew model, which would have an environmental control life support system.

"We are also working out a very high reliability vehicle, capable of putting crew module with an adequate number of persons," he said.

Dattan, Director of SDSC said a proposal has been given to the government for approval to set up a third launch pad at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore.

"Preliminary design of the third launch pad is now going on with various experts. Location of the launch pad has also been finalised taking into account the safety measures," he said.

"Once approval is obtained, the third launch pad and other infrastructure activities for the manned moon mission will come up, costing more than Rs 1,000 crore," he added.

"We also propose to set up one more vertical assembly building, similar to what we have it now. This would be capable of assembling existing and forthcoming advance vehicles," he said.

Dattan said the programme has already been initiated and would be started once government accords approval.



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