Indian space agency ISRO, which successfully launched 31 satellites aboard its PSLV-C38 rocket on Friday, has announced that it is all set to launch the GSAT-17 on June 28 from French Guiana. The GSAT-17 will be ISRO’s third launch in less than a month.
After the successful launch of PSLV-C38, an elated ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said that the space agency plans to launch two Mark-II and two Mark-III and eight to ten PSLV launches per year.
“GSAT-17 is getting launched on June 28. We will be working on the replacement satellite for IRNSS-1. Our plan is to have two Mark-II and two Mark-III launches apart from eight to ten PSLV launches per year,” Kumar said.
ISRO had on Friday morning successfully launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 40th flight (PSLV-C38), which carried Cartosat-2 series satellite, dedicated for the defence forces and 30 other nano satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
Kumar said that ISRO was all geared up to launch the GSAT-17 and has lined up more for the future. ISRO had on June 5 launched its most powerful and heaviest geostationary rocket that carried advanced communication satellite GSAT-19, weighing 3,136 kg, from the spaceport.
“We have approvals for Chandrayaan-II and Aditya. Meanwhile, we are finalising Mars Orbiter II and Venus mission. Study teams are looking at them. Very soon, we will be finalising our plan of action. Then we will get the necessary approvals from the government and move ahead,” he said.
The ISRO chief also said that a replacement satellite for IRNSS-IA would be sent as the “clocks have stopped functioning and there is a need to replace them.”
The PSLV has emerged as a credible launch vehicle for anyone across the globe, because of the frequency at which launches are happening and also the access and timeline within which their satellites can be put into orbit.
“With each (PSLV) launch, we are trying to improve our capability in one new area, like multiple restarts, multiple orbits...different capabilities we are building. As we continue to do so, PSLV will be the in-demand vehicle for satellite launches across the world.”
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“In future, we are planning communication satellites where electric propulsion systems would be used. Currently, we have put on electric propulsion system in GSAT-9 that has been tested out. The primary advantage is that it will reduce the mass of the satellite by replacing chemical propulsion system. We have a lot of plans,” he said in response to a question on what lies ahead for ISRO.
Kiran also heaped praises on the Cartosat-2 team for its efforts. The satellite was released into space on Friday morning along with 1 other Indian satellite and 29 nano satellites from 14 countries.
Mission director B Jayakumar said all the satellites launched on Friday had been successfully positioned in orbit. “With today’s launch, we have acquired the confidence that we can launch multiple satellites in multiple orbits in a single mission,” he said.