THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has six major missions lined up for the rest of 2015, including the keenly awaited Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) mission toward the middle of the year.
First comes the PSLV C-28 mission bearing three UK satellites. The launch date has been fixed tentatively for July 10.
The RLV-TD mission, the first flight test of an unmanned, scale model of India’s own space shuttle, is second in the list. It will lift off from Sriharikota by the end of July or the beginning of August, M Chandradathan, who stepped down as director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thumba, told reporters here on Friday.
“The space plane part of the RLV-TD is almost ready. The thermal protection tiles, needed for withstanding the intense heat during re-entry, are being fixed atop it, and this will be completed in a month,” he said.
The space plane will be rigged on top of a small booster rocket, and from a height of 70 km, the space plane will descend to earth. Since there is no runway at Sriharikota spaceport yet, it will come down in the Bay of Bengal. The PSLV C-30 mission will follow with the Astrosat satellite, which is essentially a space-based observatory.
This mission will be followed by the GSLV D-6 mission, which will be a ditto version of the GSLV D-5 which successfully flight-tested the India-built cryogenic engine in December 2014.
“This mission will be in August and will validate the cryo stage. The cryo stage is being integrated at the IPRC, Mahendragiri,” S Somanath, the new director of LPSC, said. The remaining two missions are PSLV-based, intended to put two more satellites in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) in orbit.
“The PSLV C-29 and the PSLV C-31 will carry one IRNSS satellite each, hopefully by the end of 2015. We hope to have two of the three remaining IRNSS satellites in orbit this year,” he said.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System constellation consists of seven satellites and four are already in orbit.
‘Project Report for Airstrip Ready’
With the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) fast-tracking the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) project to build India’s own space shuttle, the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh will get an airstrip in the near future. “The project report for constructing the strip at Sriharikota is ready,” M Chandradathan, who stepped down as director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, on Friday said. ‘’It will have to be at least 4 km in length. The project report for the airstrip was ready by 2010-11 itself. We have enough land at Sriharikota for building it,’’ he said. Unlike GSLV and PSLV, which are expendable rockets, the RLV consists of a space plane section and a booster rocket. The space plane returns to earth after the mission and can be reused.