Throwing light on the revolutionary idea behind the launch of Astrosat, India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory, ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said it will provide a customised opportunity for students and researchers to observe and analyse any celestial body they wish to. He was speaking ahead of the inauguration of an exhibition by Vijnana Bharati in MIT.
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Kumar said that this is the first project in the world which will involve people unlike others which are controlled by and are limited to private agencies or syndicates. “Since the foundation of ISRO, our focus has been on public welfare. Our data has helped farmers, fishermen and many others in their respective fields. Through Astrosat, we’re going a step further and involving the huge fraternity of science lovers. They can just decide which celestial body they wish to observe and the data will be made available to them,” he said.
Astrosat, which is carrying a total payload of 1,631 kg and contains six scientific instruments, will capture transient events difficult to observe from Earth, thus increasing the scope of research.
By the year-end, ISRO is set to launch India’s GSAT-15 communications satellite using Arian 5, a European heavy life launch vehicle. Kumar said, “We are in the process of developing GSLV MK3, which will be able to carry upto four tonnes of load into the Geosynchronous orbit. GSAT-17 and 18 will also be launched using Ariane, but after that we’ll be using GSLV for future missions.”
While ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 is slated to fly in 2017, Aditya, its first mission dedicated to the study of solar corona is expected by 2019. The SAARC Satellite project, a proposed communication and meteorology satellite by ISRO for SAARC region, is awaiting clearances from member countries. “Sri Lanka is the only country which has approved and signed the project. The launch will take place by the end of next year, provided other countries cooperate,” Kumar further said.
The ISRO chairman informed that the organisation has recently acquired land to build a second assembling area. After the assembling area is built, ISRO plans to build a new launchpad. “We did three successive launches in July, August and September. And we’re also planning one launch each from December to March. Our target is to do upto 15 launches per year in the near future,” he said.