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Sunday, September 9, 2012

PSLV C21 - 100th indigenous mission – SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED.

PSLV C21 - 100th indigenous mission – SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED.

This island would have not been known to the people of India – but for the prominence that ISRO has gained over the years and the way PSLV has become known to every household.  Sriharikota is a  barrier island off the coast of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh lying somewhat closer to Chennai separating  the Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal – the nearest Railway station is Sullurpeta, which is in the Grand Trunk route – not many trains halt here – even when you are travelling from Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkatta  to Chennai – many may not attach any importance to this small railway station.  The Satish Dhawan Space Centre is the launch centre for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and it is  located in Sriharikota.  The Indian Space Research Organisation  was established in 1969. ISRO has come a longway from the launching of Nation’s first satellite, Aryabhata,  built by ISRO and launched by the Soviet Union in 1975. In 2008, ISRO successfully launched its first lunar probe,Chandrayaan-1.

PSLV is the abbreviated form of ‘Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’ – an expendable launch system developed and operated by ISRO. Launch Vehicles are used to transport and put satellites or spacecrafts into space. PSLV  was developed to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun synchronous orbits, a service that was, until the advent of the PSLV, commercially viable only from Russia.  It was evolved with painstaking efforts of Indian space scientists - SLV-3 secured for India a place in the community of space-faring nations, the ASLV provided the rites of passage into launch vehicle technology, and  with PSLV, a new world-class vehicle  arrived. PSLV has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility by launching 55 satellites / spacecrafts ( 26 Indian and 29 Foreign Satellites) into a variety of orbits so far.

The recent  51-hour countdown that  commenced at 06:51 hours on 7th Sept 2012 was significant.  That was the countdown for PSLV-C21 which was to  inject SPOT-6 and PROITERES satellites into an orbit of 655 km altitude at an inclination of 98.23o.   This was made momentous as it was the 100th indigenous mission.   Today, the Nation felt honoured as the space agency's old warhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), successfully blasted off into space at 9:53 am with two foreign satellites from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.  The launch, initially scheduled for 9:51 am was delayed by two minutes as scientists waited for space debris to clear out. In its 22nd launch, the 230-tonne rocket onboard the PSLV, which is as tall as a 15-storey building, was its third fully-commercial launch. The PSLV has an enviable record with just one failure.

The successful launch placed in to orbit -  712-kg SPOT-6 remote sensing satellite from France (built by ASTRIUM SAS) and a 15-kg Japanese spacecraft PROITERES. Today's launch, a purely commercial one, has firmly placed the country in a select club of rocket-makers on which private utilities can bank upon to launch their operational satellites in a cost-effective and reliable manner.

Hailing the mission as a "spectacular success", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was present at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota to witness the landmark event, said, "Today's launch is a milestone in our nation's space capabilities...The launch of these satellites on board an Indian launch vehicle is testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and is a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity."  "In this 100th launch, there is a reversal of roles where an Indian launcher is carrying a French satellite," Francois Richier, French Ambassador to India, said on the major milestone.  "Almost every family in India has benefitted from one or the other spin offs from the space agency...touching lives and adding value to the aam admi has been the hallmark of the Indian space programme," K Radhakrishnan, Chairman of ISRO, told NDTV.

India has ambitious plans to launch, in 2013, its maiden mission to Mars. Called Mangalyaan, it will be an unmanned orbiting mission to study the atmosphere of the Red Planet. Dr Radhakrishnan says "work is going on at a feverish pace for this mission that will reinforce India's national pride".   In the next five years, ISRO is also scheduled to have nearly 60 more missions.

Proud to be an Indian and hail the Scientists who achieved this Success- hail ISRO

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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