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ISRO launches 7 satellites in 20 minutes

Notwithstanding the disappointment over the abrupt end to the Chandrayaan-1 moon mission,the Indian Space Research Organisation...

Notwithstanding the disappointment over the abrupt end to the Chandrayaan-1 moon mission,the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday added another feather to its cap by launching the Oceansat-2,a remote sensing satellite that would provide a range of services for the fishermen as well as help scientists get better knowledge of the Indian seas.

Six other nano-satellites from different countries were aboard the PSLV-C14 and were all fired into their respective orbits within a time span of 20 minutes. Today’s launch was the 15th consecutive successful flight for ISRO’s evergreen launch vehicle,the PSLV.

Coming just ahead of the start of the fishing season in October,the launch of Oceansat-2,India’s 16th remote sensing satellite,would bring huge benefits to the fishing community who would be one of the biggest users of the information sent out by the satellite.

The Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM),one of the three payloads on Oceansat-2 that has been dubbed as the common man’s satellite,would transmit data that would be used to provide a range of fishery services to the community like information about the areas greater fish density,high and low tides and wind and sea currents.

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The Ministry of Earth Sciences gives out comprehensive information related to fishing along the entire coastline thrice a week. But for the past couple of years,it was depending on information being provided by some foreign satellites. This was because data coming from Oceansat-1,a similar satellite that was launched in 1999,had not been of very good quality.

The information from Oceansat-2 would be far better from what was being obtained from the foreign satellites or Oceansat-1,since the newly-launched satellite has the capability to give very high resolution pictures. More than 10 lakh fishermen take the benefit of the fishery services provided by the ministry.

The other two payloads on Oceansat-2,a Scatterometer and a radio sounder,would also be of some help to the fishermen apart from providing data for other

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scientific studies like atmospheric behaviour. The scatterometer,which has a one metre antenna rotating at 20rpm,would provide wind related information and would be useful in the studies related to weather and monsoon flows.

Data from Oceansat-2 would also be helpful in a better knowledge of the mineral resources under the sea near India’s coastline and the capability of the ocean to act as a carbon sink.

Besides the 960-kg Oceansat-2,today’s launch also included six nano-satellites,mainly technology demonstrators,built by

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European universities. Four of them were cubesats coming from universities in Berlin,Germany,Turkey and Switzerland and two were Rubin satellites from Germany.

A network of ground stations at Bangalore,Lucknow,Mauritius,Biak in Indonesia,Svalbard and Tromso in Norway,and for the first time,a station at Antarctica will help the

Isro Telemetry,Tracking and Command Network’s (ISTRAC) Spacecraft Control Centre in Bangalore to monitor the health of the satellite.

First published on: 24-09-2009 at 05:18:39 am
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