Chennai, March 23:
The Indian rocket that would put into orbit the country’s fourth navigation satellite on March 28 was moved to the launch pad on Monday morning, said a senior official.
“The rocket – Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-PSLV-XL – has been moved to the launch pad or the umbilical tower. The rocket will be fixed to the umbilical tower,” M.Y.S. Prasad, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), told IANS over phone from Sriharikota.
India’s only rocket port is located at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh around 80 km from here.
According to Prasad after the rocket is connected to the umbilical tower system, checks would be carried out including full rocket and satellite checks.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is hoping to launch the rocket on March 28 evening if everything goes smoothly.
Originally ISRO had planned to launch the 1,425 kg Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS-1D) satellite on March 9.
But on March 4, ISRO deferred the launch after it found that one of the telemetry transmitters in the IRNSS-1D was not working properly.
India has so far launched three regional navigational satellites as part of a constellation of seven satellites to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km.
Though the full system comprises nine satellites – seven in orbit and two on the ground as stand-by – the navigation services could be made operational with four satellites, ISRO officials had said.
Each satellite costs around Rs.150 crore and the PSLV-XL version rocket costs around Rs.130 crore. The seven rockets would involve an outlay of around Rs.910 crore.
The entire IRNSS constellation of seven satellites is planned to be completed this year itself.
The first satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013, the second IRNSS-1B in April 2014 and the third on October 16, 2014.
Once the regional navigation system is in place, India need not be dependent on other platforms.
Meanwhile European space agency Arianespace is also getting ready to launch two Galileo satellites on March 27.
The two satellites would be launched jointly by a Soyuz rocket blasting off from French Guyana.
According to Arianespace, the Galileo programme is Europe’s initiative for satellite navigation, providing a highly accurate global positioning system under civilian control – to consist of 30 satellites in total, along with European control centres and a worldwide network of sensor and uplink stations.