Its ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) may have crossed the half-way point to the Red Planet, but back on earth, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has little time to sit back and enjoy the trip. A very hectic June and July await the space agency.
ISRO is planning to launch the PSLV-C23 bearing a clutch of foreign satellites by the end of June, while the launch date of the keenly-awaited GSLV Mk-III experimental flight has been pushed to July-end, ISRO officials said here. ‘’The integration of the PSLV C-23 has begun at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota. The main satellite, SPOT-7, will be moved for integration on Wednesday,’’ P Kunhikrishnan, project director, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), said.
The C-23 is a ‘PSLV-CA (Core Alone)’ model meaning that the rocket will not be sporting strap-on motors. As payloads on the C-23, the French earth observation satellite SPOT-7 will be accompanied by CanX-4, CanX-5 and AISSat, which are smaller satellites. ‘’We launched SPOT-6 on the C-21 and the French were fully satisfied with the launch,’’ Kunhikrishnan said.
The experimental flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV-Mk III) - India’s biggest rocket - was originally planned for May this year, but ISRO officials have now moved the launch date to July-end.
Work is still progressing on the cryogenic stage, which is a more powerful version than the one used on the GSLV D-5 mission last year. This stage will remain ‘passive’ during the experimental flight.
“The two strap-on boosters and the L-110 core stage are ready for integration at Sriharikota. We hope to move the cryogenic stage from the LPSC to Sriharikota by June end,’’ M C Dathan, director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, said.