- India to launch 450-crore communications satellite
- PM Modi's gift to six South Asian countries
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The control room of the Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO at Sriharikota is shaped like a flying saucer. Here, about 50 of India's best space engineers and scientists will be monitoring the heartbeat of the satellite and the sinews of the rocket that will take it into space. The satellite weighs about 2,230 kilos, as much as four full grown elephants, and is among the heaviest passengers the 414-kilo rocket has been tasked with transporting. The most tricky operation in a GSLV launch is the filling up of the super-cooled liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen in the upper stage of the rocket. Hydrogen is highly inflammable, and huge caution has to be exercised.
Today's launch is the 11th mission for the 50-meter tall rocket, which entered service in 2001 and is powered by an Indian-made cryogenic engine.
Through the day, several balloons have been floated up from Sriharikota to gauge wind velocities in the upper atmosphere and on the ground, the Range Safety Officer (RSO) has to ensure that the 5-km radius of the launch pad is free of any human ingress.
While this mission is a first on some accounts, it also remarks a new low for ISRO in transparency. There will be no media present at India's space port to document this historical mission. Ideally, ISRO and the Ministry of External Affairs should have brought in media from all the seven beneficiary nations and from other parts of the world to witness this unique mission. But for some reason, opaqueness is the prevailing mood.
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