The process of integration of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C 23 is complete. The launcher will carry SPOT 7 from Fance, 2 satellites from Canada, and one each from Germany and Singapore.
SPOT stands for Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre, the French for “satellite for land/earth observation”. While ISRO has not issued a press release for the date of launch of the PSLV, Spot Image, the agency based in Toulouse, France, whose product the 712 kg SPOT 7 is, has informed सिर्फ़ News that their satellite will be launched on 26 June, thus making it the date of PSLV’s launch. Of course, ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan informed the media that the satellites would be launched from Sriharikota while talking to journalists during the 46th Convocation of IIT-Kanpur on 18 June.
The contract to lift SPOT 7 was bagged by ISRO mid-2013. The Canadian satellites to be launched are Nanosatellite Launch Systems NLS 7.1 (Can X4) and NLS 7.2 (Can X5).
MYS Prasad, director at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) of ISRO, has informed that the total launch weight of the rocket PSLV will be 230 tonne and its total satellites weight is expected to be around 830 kg.
India currently has a constellation of 13 such satellites providing a host of space-based application service including land and water resource management, oceanographic studies and weather and climate related observations. The PSLV is capable of launching 1,600 kg satellites in 620 km sun-synchronous polar orbit and 1050 kg satellite in geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The following has been ISRO’s tentative schedule since last year:
February 25, 1231UTC – PSLV C20 FLP – SARAL + Sapphire + NEOSSat + BRITE + UniBRITE + AAUSAT3 + STRaND-1
April 2013 to March 2014
June 11 end or early July – PSLV C22 FLP- IRNSS-R1A
end July or August – GSLV-D5 (Mk II return to flight) SLP- GSAT-14
October 25 22 – PSLV C25(XL) – MangalYaan (Mars Orbiter)
NET December Q1 2014 – PSLV C23 – SPOT-7 + NLS-7.1 (CanX-4) + NLS-7.2 (CanX-5)
January or April 2014 – GSLV Mk III X1, SLP – “atmospheric test”
Q1 March 2014 – PSLV C24 – IRNSS-R1B
piggybacked on PSLV IMS(Indian Mini Satellite)/Atmos, IMS-1E, IMS-1F, Alsat-2B, NLS-9, Luxspace AIS, Nemo-AM, IinuSat, SRE-2, IMS-B
July 15-3125 – Ariane-5 – Insat-3D
August- Ariane-5 – GSAT-7 (Navy Communications Satellite)
April 2014 to March 2015
– PSLV C26 – IRNSS-R1C
– GSLV-D6 Mk II – GSAT-6
– PSLV C27(XL) SLP- AstroSat-1 + LAPAN-A2 + LAPAN-A3
– PSLV C28 – Cartosat-2C
– PSLV C29 – IRNSS-R1D
– PSLV C29 – IRNSS-R1E
piggybacked on PSLV : VENµS (SSO);IITMSAT;STUDSAT-2
– foreign launcher – GSAT-15
– foreign launcher – GSAT-11
April 2015 to March 2016
– PSLV C30 – IRNSS-R1E
Q3 – GSLV MkII F09 – GSAT-9
-PSLV C31 – IRNSS-R1F
– PSLV C32 – Resourcesat-2A
– PSLV C33 – Cartosat-2D
– PSLV C33 – EnMap (German satellite)(tbc)
– GSLV Mk II F08 – Chandrayaan-2
-PSLV C34 – IRNSS-R1G
– foreign launcher – GSAT-16
– foreign launcher – GSAT-17
– foreign launcher – GSAT-18
April 2016 to March 2017
– PSLV C35 – EnMap (German satellite)
– GSLV Mk II F10 – GISAT (GEO Imaging SATellite)
– GSLV Mk II F11 – GSAT-6A
– GSLV -Mk III D1 – GSAT-19E
– PSLV C36 – Oceansat-3
– PSLV C37 – Cartosat-3
piggybacked on PSLV: Aditya-1
– foreign launcher – GSAT-11S
– foreign launcher – GSAT-Ka
April 2017 to March 2018
– GSLV Mk II F12 – GSAT-7A
– GSLV Mk III D2 – GSAT-20
– PSLV C38 – RISAT-1A
December – GSLV Mk II F13 – INSAT-3DR
– foreign launcher/sat – GSAT-21
– GSLV Mk III – Manned mission
EnMAP, the hyperspectral environmental mapping satellite built by German space agency DLR, will be the heaviest lift bagged by the PSLV and is slated for a 2016-17 launch.
The ISRO does not disclose the fee it charges its clients, but it has been known from reliable sources that the agency’s marketing arm Antrix Corporation has earned between Rs 5 crore and Rs 90 crore for some of its commercial services. The US and European launch prices per kg of satellite weight reportedly range from $10,000-$20,000 depending on the distance to the orbit.
The techno-commercial challenge that the ISRO has yet to overcome is making the PSLV cost-effective for launching micro-satellites as well. It can then bag contracts from the US, too. As of now, the offers from China and Russia in this segment are cheaper.