GSLV Redeemed: INSAT-3DS Launch Marks ‘Naughty Boy’ Rocket’s Maturity


Team Udayavani, Feb 18, 2024, 10:08 AM IST

Early on Saturday, India successfully deployed a new meteorological satellite into orbit.

The three-stage Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), measuring 51.7 meters, launched at 5:35 p.m. Indian time on Feb. 17 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

Approximately 19 minutes after launch, the INSAT-3DS meteorological satellite detached from the launcher.The satellite was placed into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, and following orbit-raising maneuvers, it will move to a position at 74 degrees East in the geostationary belt, situated 35,786 kilometers above the equator.

S Somanath, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), expressed his delight after the launch, stating, “I’m thrilled to declare the mission GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS a success. The spacecraft has entered an excellent orbit.”

S Somanath further added, “I would like to extend my congratulations to the teams responsible for creating the payloads, the satellite, and the launch vehicle for making this year’s progress possible.”

Tomy Joseph, the mission director, remarked that the GSLV rocket, which had been nicknamed “Naughty Boy” due to six out of its 15 previous launches ending in failure or partial success, has now transformed into “a very obedient and disciplined boy.”

INSAT-3DS, the sixth satellite in the INSAT series, weighed 2,274 kilograms at launch. It is equipped with four payloads: a six-channel multispectral imager, a sounder with 19 channels, a Data Relay Transponder (DRT), and a transponder for Satellite Aided Search & Rescue (SAS&R).

The mission is financially supported by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in India. The satellite is anticipated to remain operational until at least the year 2030.

Enhancing Earth Observation Mission

According to ISRO, the mission aims to observe the Earth’s surface and oceans through various meteorological spectral channels, deliver vertical profiles of atmospheric conditions, gather and distribute data from Data Collection Platforms (DCPs), and provide Satellite Aided Search and Rescue services.

The mission’s goal to observe the Earth’s surface and oceans through various meteorological spectral channels involves using specialized sensors to capture data across different wavelengths of light. This allows for detailed monitoring of weather patterns, ocean temperatures, and surface conditions. Delivering vertical profiles of atmospheric conditions refers to collecting data at different altitudes, from the surface up to the upper atmosphere. This information is crucial for understanding temperature, humidity, and wind patterns at various layers, which helps in weather forecasting and studying climate change.

Gathering and distributing data from Data Collection Platforms (DCPs) means collecting environmental data from remote sensors spread across the Earth’s surface and then sharing this information with researchers and meteorologists worldwide. This comprehensive approach enhances our ability to monitor and predict weather events, contributing significantly to disaster preparedness and environmental management. Adding to the mission’s objectives, Satellite Aided Search and Rescue (SAS&R) services involve the use of satellite technology to assist in locating and rescuing individuals in distress situations, primarily in remote or hard-to-reach areas such as the ocean, mountains, or deserts.

This system works by detecting signals from emergency beacons activated by ships, aircraft, or individuals in danger, pinpointing their location with high accuracy. The satellite then relays this information to rescue coordination centers, which organize the rescue operations. This capability is crucial for timely response in emergencies, significantly reducing the search time and increasing the chances of saving lives. By integrating SAS&R services, the mission plays a vital role in enhancing safety and emergency response on a global scale, demonstrating the crucial humanitarian applications of satellite technology.

India’s Ambitious Leap in Space Missions for 2024

India’s INSAT-3DS satellite launch marked the country’s second space mission in 2024, following the XPoSat X-ray astronomy satellite’s deployment on January 1 (UTC).

The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) had previously declared plans for an ambitious schedule of 30 launches over a 15-month span. This marks a significant increase in activity compared to 2023, which was India’s most active year to date with eight launches.

A major focus for the year includes conducting several test flights as part of the Gaganyaan human spaceflight program. In preparation, ISRO carried out a suborbital flight last October, testing the launch abort system with an uncrewed capsule.

(The author Girish Linganna of this article is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru. He is also Director of ADD Engineering Components, India, Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany. You can reach out to him at: [email protected])

Disclaimer: The opinions and assertions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Udayavani. The publication holds no legal responsibility for the content presented.

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