Friday, May 05, 2017

GSLV Launches 'SouthAsiaSat'

ISRO has launched GSAT-9 (aka.'SouthAsiaSat') in the GSLV-F09 mission.

Annoying narrator voice aside, it's good to see that onboard camera footage is now a regular part of ISRO launches.

The 'SouthAsiaSat' was originally called 'SAARC Sat' until Pakistan decided it didn't like being under India's satellite coverage.

Considering that the global space market’s future will be defined by heavy lift boosters, it is imperative for Isro to develop the GSLV’s advanced avatars as soon as possible. The international launch scene is changing rapidly with newer launchers constantly pushing the bar higher on payload capability.

Isro scientists seem ready for the challenge and have set their sights on leapfrogging to GSLVs powered by semi-cryogenic engines. Fuelled by kerosene and liquid oxygen, these engines would be capable of lofting ten-ton satellites into space, cutting launch costs dramatically. “We expect to test the prototype of a semi-cryogenic engine in a year’s time,” says Somnath. “And we may fly it by 2021. Engine development takes a very long time, at least 10 years for realisation.”
The GSAT-9 which has just been put in orbit is also the first Indian satellite to feature Electric Propulsion, specifically a xenon-thruster in this case, which is much more reliable than a standard chemical propulsion motor, and lasts longer using less fuel.

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