Thrilling as it was, indications are that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will have little time to sit back and gloat over Monday’s successful PSLV C-20 launch.
The space agency has three big missions lined up for this year including a GSLV flight for validating the indigenous cryogenic stage and the ambitious Mars mission later on in October. “May 2013 will be particularly hectic with the PSLV C-22 scheduled to lift off from the Sriharikota spaceport with the hefty Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS-1) and the GSLV D-5 mission which uses the indigenously built cryogenic stage,” S Ramakrishnan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thumba, who arrived here after the PSLV C-20 launch, said.
IRNSS-1 weighs 1,380 kg and is the first of the three satellites that make up the IRNSS series. It will go up on the next PSLV mission, the C-22. “Unlike the PSLV C-20 which was a core-alone version of the launch vehicle, C-22 will be the full version with all six strap-on motors,” Ramakrishnan said.
“The plan now is to have the GSLV D-5, rigged with the India-make cryogenic stage, lift off from the second launchpad in Sriharikota the same month,” he said.
“Work on the cryo stage is in full swing at Mahendragiri (the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre in Tamil Nadu). It will be carrying a satellite but the emphasis will be on validating the cryogenic stage,” Ramakrishnan said.
And in October, all eyes will be on ISRO when the space agency attempts the next big step after the Chandrayaan-I Moon mission. ISRO’s workhorse PSLV will lift off with the Mars mission in October. On Monday, the PSLV C-20 placed in orbit seven satellites which included foreign payloads. “The satellites are working fine and our foreign customers are satisfied,” the VSSC director said.