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Monday, February 25, 2013

PSLV-C20 to launch SARAL today.. ISRO Sriharikota

Another day, another launch, another success ~ would make Indians lot proud.    Today, Indo-French satellite 'SARAL', aimed at oceanographic studies, is to be launched along with a mix of six foreign mini and micro satellites on board PSLV-C20 from the spaceport of Sriharikota.

SARAL or Satellite with ARgos and ALtiKa is a cooperative altimetry technology mission of Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) and CNES (Space Agency of France). The ISRO built satellite with payloads modules (AltiKa altimeter, DORIS, Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) and ARGOS-3 (Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite) data collection system provided CNES will be launched by Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket into the Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). ISRO will be responsible for the platform, launch, and operations of the spacecraft.

The payload carries instruments not only to measure the rise in sea levels from space, but also to collect other ocean data that helps study the coast and estuarine, tsunami prediction and may also lead to improved weather forecast.  ISRO reports that there will be two instruments on board – a Ka-band altimeter named “AltiKa”, that helps measure ocean surface topography with unparallelled accuracy and “ARGOS-3”, an instrument for collecting data transmitted by 17,000 geo-tracking devices worldwide.

The technology offered by SARAL would significantly improve the satellite measurement of sea levels as well as the understanding of tropical climate, the French embassy said in a statement. Being the second Indo-French satellite after the “Megha-Tropique”, SARAL is being launched after India and France signed an agreement to further their collaboration in space research during the first visit of new French President Francois Hollande. SARAL, however, is delayed by almost two years as the first launch was scheduled in 2011, which was later rescheduled to December 2012. That too was postponed and further tests were carried out to ensure the payload’s reliability in collecting and transmitting data.

Scientific studies have shown that the sea level in the Indian Ocean is rising unevenly and threatening residents in some densely populated coastal areas and islands. The rise is especially high along the coastlines of the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, as well as Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java.  So, Saral would be of great help in analyzing the rise in sea levels and developing pre-warning systems.

ISRO sources state that the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C20 is scheduled for blast-off at 5.56 PM from the spaceport at Sriharikota, 110 km from Chennai, carrying 'SARAL', aimed at oceanographic studies,and six foreign mini and micro satellites.

Aside, newspaper reports state that ahead of the launch of the Indo- French satellite 'SARAL' onboard ISRO's workhorse rocket PSLV from Sriharikota, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan offered worship at the most holiest of Shrines ~ the  hill shrine of Thirumala Tirupathi Lord Venkateswara. An ardent devotee, Radhakrishnan visits the shrine to seek divine blessings ahead of every satellite launch and makes another trip after its success, the sources said.

Wishing the Nation and the people of India [Ourselves] a successful launch

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Feb 2013

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