THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The launch of GSAT-9 communication satellite in July this year will mark ISRO’s first encounter with electric propulsion for satellite station-keeping, ISRO officials said here on Friday.
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk II (GSLV-Mk II) will put GSAT-9 in the orbit, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar told reporters at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thumba. Nowadays, ISRO satellites carry liquid fuel and oxidiser on board to power thrusters for adjusting orbits and other station-keeping manoeuvres.
The fuel, however, takes up almost half the mass of a satellite. Replacing it with electric propulsion will enable the space agency to enhance the satellite’s life by at least four years and increase payload capability. The life of a 2,000-2,500 kg GSAT satellite is 10-12 years now. ISRO had earlier planned the GSAT-9 launch in 2017.
As part of its plans to scale up number of launches to at least two a month, ISRO is hoping to commission the second vehicle assembly complex at Sriharikota by next year. This will enable the space agency to speed up the launch process, Kiran Kumar said.
Quelle: The Indian Express