In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24×7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan speaks about the indigenous cryogenic engine that launched GSLV-D5 and why the Mars Orbiter Mission is crucial for India.
I’m at Antariksh Bhavan in Bangalore, the headquarters of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), where you see many smiles wherever you go and nobody is smiling more happily than its Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan. One can’t find a space scientist with a more diverse portfolio — the Mars mission, the lunar mission, GSLV and then your own Tsunami Warning Centre, and the 24×7 Disaster Management Centre. You are a man of many parts.
The Indian space programme is people-centric and application-centric. That’s our USP, that whatever we do, it should finally find a place for the common man.
And you have had about eight launches in seven months?
Yes, since July 2013, we have had eight successful missions — PSLVs, a few satellites, the Mars Orbiter Mission and the latest GSLV-D5 with the Indian cryogenic engine and stage.
Teach us some rocket science… explain to people who can’t tell the difference between geostationary and polar.
Essentially, when we talk about a satellite doing remote-sensing, it has to go above the Earth from pole to pole. As the Earth rotates, and the satellite goes from pole to pole, the cameras in the satellite would be able to see the entire Earth. It can take pictures, as and when you require or periodically. In the case of communication satellites, what we do is put a satellite at an altitude of 36,000 km above the equator. The satellite would take 24 hours for one revolution, which is equal to what it takes for the Earth too (to rotate on its axis). So the satellite would be geostationary, that is, a stationary object with respect to us on the Earth. So these are the two things we generally talk about. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle can launch remote-sensing satellites, satellites for space science experiments, satellites for communication, it has also launched Chandrayaan and the Mars Orbiter. So in the PSLV family, we have three vehicles. Now, GSLV is a more powerful vehicle. The core stage of PSLV is used in GSLV too. The second stage of PSLV is adapted and used in GSLV.
More or less replicated?
Yes, and here you will see large strap-ons, liquid engine-based strap-ons.
And I believe each one of them carries 200 tonnes of fuel?
Each of them carries 40 continued…