Chennai, May 8: India today broke another threshold barrier with the second development flight of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D2). It successfully powered a 1,800-kg GSAT-2 satellite into a geo-synchronous transfer orbit (GTO), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, at Sriharikota, 100 km north from here.
The 414-tonne 49-metre tall GSLV-D2 lifted off from the launch pad at 4.58 pm. About 17 minutes after lift-off, GSAT-2 — the experimental communication satellite carried by the launch vehicle — was smoothly injected into an orbit of 180.04 km perigee (nearest point to earth) and an apogee of 36,000 km.
Two years ago, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched the first test flight of the GSLV-class vehicle (GSLV-DI) that placed a 1,540 kg experimental satellite (GSAT-1) in GTO. Today, it crossed a major milestone, successfully propelling the GSAT-2.
, which will be positioned at 48° east of longitude in the geo-stationary orbit’.
The launch was witnessed by Isro Chairman, Dr K. Kasturirangan, and other top scientists. Later, the chairman said “it was a precise textbook launch. We hit the bull’s eye in terms of accuracy.”
The GSLV’s performance was telemetred at the ground stations in Sriharikota and Port Blair and at stations in Brunei and Indonesia’s Biak. These stations were networked with the SHAR centre.
Isro said the GSLV was the “most technologically challenging project” it had undertaken. It is the culmination of over 10 years of efforts by a number of scientists, engineers and technicians. The second test flight, which will revalidate the various systems of the vehicle and the improvements made since the first launch, heralds a significant step forward.
When commissioned on a commercial scale, the GSLV will make the Indian space programme self-reliant. Today's success should quicken the transition to commercial launches of GSLV carrying 2,000-kg satellites, Kasturirangan said.
The GSAT-2 communication satellite carries four C-band transponders, two Ku-bands transponders and a Mobile Satellite Service payload operating in S-band forward link and C-band return link.
Besides the communication payloads, GSAT-2 carries four “piggyback experimental payloads”. This includes a total radiation dose monitor to compare the estimated radiation inside the satellite with the radiation outside and a Solar X-ray Spectrometer.
Weighing 1,800 kg at launch, the GSAT-2 will be taken to its final geo-stationary orbit by firing the liquid apogee motor in phases. After it reaches the geo-stationary orbit, its antenna and solar panels will be deployed and the satellite will be finally places in its allocated slot of 48 degrees east longitude.