ISRO is all set to launch its nex ambitious indigenous astronomy satellite ASTROSAT on September 28 from Sriharikota buoyed with its success of Mars orbit mission or Mangalyaan, which is likely to go on far more than its earlier target of 6 months.
The ASTROSAT satellite, weighing 1.5 tons, will be launched via Indians Space Research Organisation (ISRO) workhorse PSLV-C30 on Monday, Sept. 28, to be placed in the orbit at 650 km from Earth.The PSLVC-30 will carry the ASTROSAT along with six other foreign co-satellites — one each from Canada and Indonesia, and 4 nano satellites from the US.
ISRO and other space research organisations — Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Inter-University Centre for Astrophysics and Astronomy and Raman Research Institute — have pitched in for the assembly and development of the ASTROSAT, which will be rolled on to the launchpad at SHAR for pre-launch testing this weekend.
“The launch vehicle assembly has been completed and the satellites have arrived in Sriharikota,” said ISRO in a statement.
After the success of the satellite-borne Indian X-ray Astronomy Experiment (IXAE), which was launched in 1996, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) approved further development for a full-fledged astronomy satellite, Astrosat, in 2004. It took nearly one decade to give final shape to ASTROSAT to be launched on Sept.28.
It has been designed to carry out a multi-wavelength astronomy mission on an IRS-class satellite into an equatorial orbit with five instruments on-board — UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT), Soft X-ray imaging Telescope (SXT), the LAXPC Instrument, Cadmium Zinc Telluride Imager (CZTI), Scanning Sky Monitor (SSM) and Charged Particle Monitor (CPM) to cover the visible (320-530 nm), near UV (180-300 nm), far UV (130-180 nm), soft X-ray (0.3-8 keV and 2-10 keV) and hard X-ray (3-80 keV and 10-150 keV) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Apart from Astrosat, two other satellites have been jointly developed with Canadian Space Agency and University of Leiscester, UK, which will be put in orbit. ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar earlier said, ASTROSAT “is one of the first scientific missions which will be available to the Indian researcher community as an observation opportunity.”
ISRO hopes to use ASTROSAT to monitor the X-Ray sky for new transients, fluctuations in X-Ray sources, simultaneous multi-wavelength monitoring of intensity variations. ASTROSAT will also help in conducting sky surveys in hard X-ray and UV bands. In all the scientific payload has a total mass of 750 kg with six instruments.
ISRO is also working on a joint project with NASA to develop a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for launch in 2021. ISRO is also planning to send a Rover to Moon soon.