India will put at least five satellites in two different orbits in September, it will take two launches in the same month for the first time in ISRO’s history.
“We have two launches this month (September), the first is on Sep 8 with INSAT-3DR, a weather satellite for meteorological services. The second will be, tentatively, on Sep 26, with four satellites, including our ScatSat, an Algerian satellite and two smaller satellites as co-passengers,” Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told reporters at a Space Expo event in Bengaluru.
These satellites will be launched from ISRO’s rocketport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80km northeast of Chennai. Geo-synchronus Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mark II), a heavier rocket will carry the 2.2 tonne weather satellite. It will be deployed in a geostationary orbit at 74 degrees East, about 36,000 km from the earth. The other four satellites will be launched with the help of ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), and deployed in the earth’s lower orbits.
The weather satellite has a six-channel imager and a 19-channel sounder. It will also carry a search and rescue information and message relay for terrestrial data collection platforms.
“The new satellite will augment our capacity to forecast the weather patterns better and in advance to take appropriate measures. Its search and rescue information will help in coordinating disaster management,” said another ISRO official.
INSAT-3DR will supplement the meteorological and data relay services of its predecessor INSAT-3D, which is in operation since July 26, 2013.
The 370 kg ScatSat, also a weather forecasting, cyclone prediction and tracking satellite, will replace the space agency Oceansat-2, which is dysfunctional after nearly five years of lifespan.
“The data from this mini-satellite will also be used by the US space agencies (Nasa & NOAA) and a European space consortium (EUMETSAT). It will also monitor sea surface winds and predict cyclones, which hit our coastal areas,” said the official.
The 200-kg Algerian spacecraft (Alsat-2A), which the space agency’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation contracted, is a remote-sensing satellite.
“Besides ScatSat and Alsat, two-three microsatellites will piggy ride in the PSLV and deployed in the lower orbits,” ISRO official added.