Chennai: Not wanting to risk a failure of its lucrative Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and to be doubly sure about the on-flight performance of the various subsystems, India's space agency has postponed the launch of the rocket carrying remote sensing satellite Resourcesat-2 by nearly a month.
"A realistic date of launch could be estimated only by the end of this month as it depends on the results of tests that are being done to know the high temperature tolerance levels of a key component," an official of Indian Space Research Organisation (IANS) told IANS.
The PSLV launch, scheduled for launch this week, was supposed to sling Resourcesat-2 and two other small satellites - Youthsat and X-Sat - into orbit. Remote sensing satellites like Resourcesat send back pictures and other data for various uses. India is a major player in providing such data in the global market.
The Youthsat, an Indo-Russian micro satellite, carries two payloads - one Indian and the other Russian. Singapore's X-Sat is also a micro satellite.
ISRO officials told IANS the space agency's chairman K. Radhakrishnan wanted to be sure about the parameters of the rocket's subsystems as he was of the view that ISRO cannot afford another failure and that too involving the PSLV rocket.
ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation is earning a sizeable sum launching third party satellites using PSLV rockets.
The Indian space agency's last two missions involving its heavy rocket - Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) - ended as a failure resulting in a total loss of around Rs.600 crore -- cost of two rockets and two satellites.
According to ISRO officials, even if the test results turn out positive and the launch decision is taken, it would require minimum of around 20 days to get ready the PSLV rocket for the launch.
India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world providing imageries in variety of spatial resolutions from better than a metre ranging up to 500 metres.
The remote sensing satellites that are operational are: Cartosat-2B, Oceansat-2, RISAT-2, Cartosat-2A, IMS-1, Cartosat-2, Resourcesat-1 and TES.
For some time Resourcesat-2 and Resourcesat-1 would work together before the latter would go into oblivion.
Launched in 2003, Resourcesat-1 has outlived its original mission life of five years.
Compared to Resourcesat-1, the multispectral swath of Resourcesat-2 has been enhanced from 23 km to 70 km based on user needs.
Suitable changes including miniaturisation in payload electronics have been incorporated in Resourcesat-2.
The other remote sensing satellites that ISRO plans to launch are RISAT, Megha-Tropiques, INSAT-3D a meteorological satellite, Astrosat (astronomy satellite to observe celestial bodies)
First Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 23:29