Rogen Joseph reports directly from Sriharikotta viewing GSAT-12 Launch
The PSLV-C17 blasted off on July 15 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota to successfully launch the GSAT-12 satellite.For the first time in India’s space history, a woman scientist was in-charge of a mission. Fifty-one-year-old Dr TK Anuradha, from Bengaluru, was project director of the PSLV-C17/GSAT-12 mission.After a smooth countdown of 53 hours, the vehicle lifted-off from the Second Launch Pad at the opening of the launch window at 16:48 hours (IST). After about 20 minutes of flight time, GSAT-12 was successfully injected into sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (sub-GTO) with a perigee of 284 km and an apogee of 21,020 km with an orbital inclination of 17.9 deg.Subsequently, the Liquid Apogee Motor of the satellite will be used to raise both apogee and perigee of the Satellite to place it in a circular orbit of 36,000 km altitude.ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC)'s ground station at Biak, Indonesia acquired the signals from GSAT-12 immediately after the injection of the satellite.The launch took place under a cloudy sky, with the Rs.110 crore rocket PSLV-C17 - measuring 44 metres in height and weighing 320 tonnes - soaring off into space with a roar.It ferried the Rs.80 crore GSAT-12 having 12 extended C-band transponders - automatic receivers and transmitters for communication and broadcast of signals.The satellite with a life span of about seven to eight years will augment transponder capacity of Indian National Satellite (Insat) system which at present comprises of eight satellites - Insat-2E, Insat-3A, Insat-3C, Insat-3E, Insat-4A, Insat-4B (working at 50 percent capacity) Insat-4CR and GSAT-8 providing 175 transponders in the S, C, extend C and Ku bands."I am extremely happy to state that the PSVL-C17 GSAT12 mission is successful. The launch vehicle injected the satellite very precisely into the intended orbit,” says ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan affter launch.According to him, the GSAT-12 would cater to tele-medicine and tele-education services and ‘more importantly’ provide support for disaster management. The ISRO chief also said the space agency had an agenda for a reliable GSLV cryogenic stage (indigenous) “which will happen in a year. This is also only the second time ISRO is using a PSLV rocket for launching a satellite to be finally placed in geostationary orbit. Kalpana-1 was launched in September 2002 as Metsat-1, before being renamed after astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who was killed in the Columbia accident in 2003.This is the second PSLV launch of 2011, following the successful launch of ResourceSat-2 in April. Two more launches are planned before the end of the year: Megha-Tropiques in September and RISAT-1 in December. Another GSAT 10 communications satellite launch is slated for the first quarter of 2012, using an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana.