India All Set to Launch Third Navigation Satellite on Thursday

After a thunder storm has delayed some operations on Wednesday, the countdown for the launch of India’s third navigation satellite on Thursday is progressing smoothly, said a senior space agency official on Wednesday.

"Today morning we moved the mobile service tower (MST) backwards. The operation was delayed by around two hours owing to thunderstorm in the morning. There is sufficient time cushion built in for such unforeseen delays in the countdown period," Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, M.Y.S. Prasad told IANS.

"At 10 p.m., based on the climatic conditions like thunderstorm, we will decide on the launch. Currently everything is normal," he added. Prasad said the filling of propellants in the second stage/engine would be completed by 2 p.m. Following that the gases in the various stages would be pressurised.

At 1.32 a.m. Thursday, Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C26) carrying the 1,425-kg third Indian navigational satellite badged as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1C (IRNSS-1C) will kiss final goodbye to Mother Earth.

The 44.4 metres tall rocket weighs about 320 tonnes and is expected to spit out the satellite into the space around 20 minutes after the blast-off.

India will be just one more satellite away from having its own satellite based navigation system, once the satellite is successfully placed in its orbit.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan had earlier said that though IRNSS is a seven-satellite system, it could be made operational with four satellites.

On Oct 12, ISRO’s Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) gave its nod for the launch and the countdown began on Monday. The satellite that was scheduled for launch Oct 10 was put off by a week due to a glitch in the telemetry system.

During the countdown, propellant filling activities would be carried out along with checking of the various systems.

The satellite is part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) that will have a constellation of seven satellites to provide accurate positioning service for terrestrial, aerial and maritime navigation in 1,500-km area in the Indian peninsula.

The second navigation satellite (IRNSS-1B) was launched on April 4 this year from the spaceport whereas the first one – IRNSS-1A – was launched in July 2013.

The Indian system will be similar to the US Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia’s Glonass and Europe’s Galileo constellation of navigation satellites.

Began its space journey in 1975 with the launch of "Aryabhatta" using a Russian rocket and till date, India has completed over 100 space missions including missions to the Moon and Mars.

(With inputs from IANS)

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