Sunday, January 17, 2016

India Ready to Launch Its Fifth IRNSS Navigation Satellite

IRNSS-1E satellite during a propellant filling operation. Photo Credit: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is ready to launch its IRNSS-1E navigation satellite on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), located in Sriharikota. The fifth spacecraft in the IRNSS series will be lifted by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) at 0:01 a.m. EDT (4:01 GMT).

The mission, designated PSLV-C31 will be the 33rd flight of the PSLV vehicle. As was in the previous four launches of IRNSS satellites, this mission will use the ‘XL’ version of the rocket. It will be the 11th flight of the PSLV in XL configuration.

The Mission Readiness Review (MRR) committee and the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) have already decided to start on Monday, Jan. 18, the 48-hour countdown for the launch.

“MRR meeting was held today. The countdown is expected to start at 9:30 a.m. (local time) on Monday,” Devi Prasad Karnik, ISRO spokesperson told Deccan Herald on Sunday.

The rocket has been moved from the vehicle assembly building to the SLP. It will begin its short vertical ascent after liftoff on Wednesday till the separation of its six strap-on boosters. First stage will detach from the launch vehicle nearly two minutes into the flight. Payload fairing separation is expected to occur three minutes and 18 seconds after launch. The rocket’s second stage will separate about one minute later.

PSLV’s third stage will continue the mission for about six minutes until its separation. The upper stage will then ignite, carrying the IRNSS-1E satellite for its deployment 19 minutes and 23 seconds after liftoff.

Weighing 1.42 tons at launch, the IRNSS-1E spacecraft is 5.18 by 4.92 by 4.92 feet (1.58 by 1.5 by 1.5 meters). It will be deliver into a geosynchronous orbit (GEO) at 111.75 degrees East with an initial inclination of 28.1 degrees with respect to the equator. It's designed lifetime is 12 years.

The satellite features two deployable solar arrays generating 1660 W of power and one lithium-ion battery of 90 ampere-hour capacity. It will have two payloads: a navigation payload and CDMA ranging payload in addition with a laser retro-reflector. The payload generates navigation signals at L5 and S-band.

The IRNSS-1E satellite is based on the Indian I-1K (I-1000) bus developed by ISRO. This platform is designed to be compatible with lightweight geostationary satellites and is commonly used for meteorological satellites.

IRNSS-1E will provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 930 miles (1,500 km) from its boundary. It will deliver Standard Positioning Service (SPS), responsible for navigation parameter generation and transmission, satellite control, ranging and integrity monitoring as well as time keeping.

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is a satellite based positioning system for critical national applications. Its main objective is to provide reliable position, navigation and timing services over India and its neighborhood, to provide good accuracy to the user.

The IRNSS system will consist of seven satellites. All the satellites will be visible at all times in the Indian region. The constellation is expected to be completed in March 2016. IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C and 1D were launched by PSLV-C22, PSLV-C24, PSLV-C26 and PSLV-C27 in July 2013, April 2014, October 2014 and March 2015 respectively. IRNSS-1F will be launched in February and IRNSS-1G will be sent into orbit in March 2016.

The four-stage PSLV booster is India’s most reliable launch vehicle. It has been in service for more than twenty years and has been used to launch various satellites for some of the country’s most historic missions, such as the Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, and the IRNSS system.

The rocket has been used to delivered more than 40 satellites to space for 19 countries. PSLV is capable of lofting up to 3.25 metric tons to LEO and about 1.42 metric tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).

The rocket uses an Earth-storable liquid-fueled rocket engine for its second stage, known as the Vikas engine, developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. The third stage of the PSLV is powered by a solid rocket motor that provides the upper stage’s high thrust after the atmospheric phase of the mission. The fourth stage is composed of two Earth-storable liquid-fueled engines.

The 144 ft. (44 meters) tall XL version of the PSLV, is the upgraded version of the rocket in its standard configuration. It is boosted by more powerful, stretched strap-on boosters. The vehicle, with a mass of 320 tons at lift-off, uses larger strap-on motors (PSOM-XL) to achieve higher payload capability. PSOM-XL uses larger 1-meter diameter, 44 ft. (13.5 m) length motors, and carries 12 metric tons of solid propellants instead of the nine metric tons that were used on an earlier configuration of the PSLV.

The PSLV rocket in its XL configuration was launched for the first time on Oct. 22, 2008, when it sent India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe toward the Moon.

Wednesday’s mission will be India’s first launch this year. The country’s next flight is scheduled for February 2016 when a PSLV-XL rocket is scheduled to send the IRNSS-1F navigation satellite into space.

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