ISRO with successful satellite launch, eyes for heavier payloads in GSLV
ISRO would undertake to place heavier satellites onboard its geosynchronous launch vehicle in future following the successful launch of an advanced communication satellite Wednesday, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director S Somanath said. "There is always (scope of) further improvements in GSLV and in the coming GSLV-F10s and F12 missions, we are going to make bigger payload compartment to accommodate still bigger spacecraft and that is another important challenge in front of us," he said.
He said the scientists were ready for that change and also to make sure that the GSLV continues to remain very successful and "rugged" vehicle like ISRO's trusted workhorse, the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). ISRO's GSLV-F11, carrying the 2,250kg GSAT-7A, lifted off at 4.10 pm Wednesday from the second launch pad at Sriharikota, situated about 110 km from Chennai, and placed the communication satellite into its intended orbit about 19 minutes after lift-off.
Earlier, referring to the salient features of the GSLV-F11 launch, Somanath said the vehicle was an improved version where scientists brought changes in the cryogenic stage as well as the second stage to improve payload capability. "This resulted in a lot of engineering changes and new elements. The (GSLV) vehicle itself is 1.5 metres longer than the previous GSLVs and it calls for understanding aerodynamics, hardware design and control systems," he said.
He congratulated the ISRO team for "meticulously" undertaking all the new changes and making a successful launch. "This is the sixth consecutive success of the GSLV. It only shows that this vehicle is going to stay longer and to make more missions in the years to come with improved capability," he said. ISRO Chairman K Sivan said GSLV-7A was the country's heaviest satellite with the indigenous cryogenic stage.
He said the second stage propellant loading of the vehicle has been increased from 37.5 tons to 40 tons while cryogenic stage propellant loading from 12 tons to 15 tons along with enhanced thrust value for the cryogenic stage, he said.
"This has been successfully demonstrated in this mission and we got 2,000 km more than what we expected. This is a great achievement," he said. Referring to how the presence of cyclone 'Phethai' in the Bay of Bengal created "anxious" moments for ISRO scientists, Sivan said, "this particular mission has given clearly a lot of anxiety to all of us. Because the weather god was not conducive for us (for) a week."
"Under this environment, definitely the MET (meteorological) team from Sriharikota rose to the occasion to take care of any eventuality and the way they gave confidence to us, clearly the launch campaign was managed nicely," he said. 'Phethai' lashed coastal Andhra Pradesh Monday, triggering heavy rains, uprooting trees and electric poles, and claiming one life, before moving towards Odisha.
(With inputs from agencies.)