ISRO opens new year launching satellite for DRDO and a student satellite

Chennai: India will open its 2019 space programme account on January 24 launching imaging satellite Microsat-R for Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and Kalamsat, said a top ISRO official.

The Indian space agency will also launch GSAT 31, a communication satellite during the first week of February by Ariane space rocket Ariane, he added.

“We will be launching 700-kg Microsat-R and Kalamsat with a new variant of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). In order to reduce the weight and increase the mass, an aluminum tank is used for the first time in the fourth stage,” K. Sivan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS on Thursday.

He said Kalamsat is a payload developed by students and SpaceKidz India.

The PSLV is a four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.

In its normal configuration, the rocket will have six strap-on motors hugging the rocket’s first stage.

However, the PSLV that would fly on January 24 with Microsat R and Kalamsat will be a two strap-on motors configuration and is designated as PSLV-DL.

The rocket PSLV-C44 is the first mission of PSLV-DL and is a new PSLV variant.

Kalamsat, a student payload, will be the first to use the rocket’s fourth stage as an orbital platform. The fourth stage will be moved to higher circular orbit so as to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments.

Queried about communication satellite GSAT 31, Sivan said it will be launched during the first week of February.

“The satellite is in Kourou. It will be put into orbit by Ariane rocket. Weighing about three ton, the satellite is a replacement for INSAT-4CR. It will be followed by GSAT 30 which will be a replacement for INSAT 4A,” Sivan said.