India successfully launched its INSAT-3DR advanced weather satellite in copy-book style on Thursday evening using its heavy geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-F05) rocket.
Around 17 minutes after lift-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 4.50 p.m, the GSLV rocket slung the 2,211 kg satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), from where it would be guided to its final geostationary orbit. The launch was delayed by 40 minutes as the fuelling of the third stage of the rocket took longer than expected.
With the launch of INSAT-3DR, the Indian space agency has successfully launched three satellites weighing over two tonnes of the six satellites weighing over two tonnes it had flown in a GSLV rocket.
The successful flight of the GSLV rocket on Thursday gives the Indian space programme a much-needed boost as getting the third stage cryogenic engine right is important for its future space programmes as well as for commercial launches.
Indian space scientists have spent around two decades and around Rs 500 crore ($75 million)in conceiving and developing the cryogenic technology.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists at the mission control centre were visibly happy. They slapped each other on the back and hugged each other once the rocket ejected the satellite, which can also aid in search and rescue (SAR) missions, into its intended orbit.
“On Thursday we reached one more landmark, successfully putting the weather monitoring satellite into orbit,” ISRO’s chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.
According to ISRO, the satellite incorporates technological improvements like: (a) imaging in middle infrared band to provide nighttime pictures of low clouds and fog, (b) imaging in two thermal infrared bands for better estimating sea surface temperature and (c) higher spatial resolution in the visible and thermal infrared bands.
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