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ISRO to launch 6 Singaporean satellites today

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Singapore: Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV rocket will today launch six Singaporean satellites which would help the city-state gather information on disaster monitoring and urban planning.

To be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the spaceport of Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota at 6.00 pm today, the satellites will be put into orbit by Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)- PSLV-C29 on reaching 550 kms from the earth’s surface.

The satellites would be launched one after another, 30 seconds apart, to avoid collision and set a distance of about 20 kilometres between them. The 59-hour-countdown for the PSLV-C29/TeLEOS-1 Mission began at 7.00 am on Monday and was progressing normally, ISRO said.

For the first time, the satellites will orbit around the equator and gather data that will benefit those in the equatorial region. The satellites will be put into a 550 kms circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator.

“The satellites will be able to produce information at a much higher frequency. This will surely be very important when you use it for disaster monitoring in the region like Southeast Asia,” Project Director of the Satellite Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Professor Goh Cher Hiang said.

“For urban planning, before you plan a township, you would want to take a look at the terrain, take a look at the area around it, see what you have there, what kind of obstacles you may face, where are the draining systems, main highway,” President of the Communication and Sensor Systems Group at ST Electronics Tang Kum Chuen said.

“If we have our own Singapore-made satellites, we can customise the technology, the sensors and instruments to meet our own needs. For instance, we can monitor haze. We can get the information anywhere, any time,” Channel News Asia quoted Director of the Satellite Research Centre at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Associate Professor Low Kay Soon as saying.

The satellite can capture images of Singapore once every 100 minutes and tracks threats in the sea and air as well as natural disaster across the region. The satellites are made by NUS, NTU and engineering- commercial company ST Electronics.

ISRO is using its trusted workhorse PSLV which is on its 32nd flight in ‘core-alone’ configuration without the use of solid strap-on motors. Of the six satellites, TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite weighing 400 kgs whereas the other five satellites include two micro-satellites and three nano-satellites.

TeLEOS-1 is the first Singapore commercial earth observation satellite. It would be launched into a low Earth orbit for “remote sensing” applications. Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, has provided launch services in PSLV for 51 customer satellites from 20 countries so far.

PTI