- Novel geostationary remote-sensing spacecraft watching from a high perch. A wasted rocket stage innovatively put to work again in orbit. A utilitarian small wonder called the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle.
- These are a few missions promising to debut from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s basket in the new year.
- ISRO’s 2019 calendar is dotted with 32 new missions, an ambitious record-making goal for the most number of Indian missions in a year. In contrast, 2018 saw about 14 missions against a goal of 18, including the failed GSAT-6A satellite of April.
- The new year’s very first mission is set for January and will try out a unique experiment to re-control and rework the fourth and last stage of the PSLV-C44 rocket after it completes its job in space. C-44 is slated to carry the 150/200-kg special purpose Microsat-R to a low-Earth polar orbit.
- Stage 4 or PS4 takes the satellite to the last lap of desired height (anywhere between 400 km and 700 km.) Job done, it floats there for several years as space junk.
- Stage 4 of the PSLV rocket usually goes into orbit as debris once the satellite is released. We want to see if we can use it as a low-cost experimental platform for students working in space-related areas and for our own technologies
- The PSLV’s fourth and final stage weighs about 450 kg and equals two micro satellites (100-500 kg class). A full test satellite of that size can cost around ₹200 crore, an avoidable expense in the high-risk space business. Also, some piggyback trial payloads can use such test beds and not eat up precious space or add to the weight of a working satellite. Dr. Sivan said the revived stage of the PSLV-C44 flight would be equipped with solar power systems to keep it working and monitored from ground.
- The set of PSLV missions will launch Earth observation satellites Microsat-R, EMISAT, a bigger Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT and Oceansat-3. The third-generation Cartosat-3 will have a very high resolution of 0.25 cm.