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|March 31, 1999||
Hassan is all set for INSAT-2E countdownHectic preparations are on at the Master Control Facility in Hassan, Karnataka, with cooperation from user agencies of the indigenously built multipurpose satellite INSAT-2E, scheduled for launch from Kourou in French Guyana in early hours of April 3.
Nestled in the picturesque background encompassing an area of over 43 acres, the MCF is a multi-mission control centre providing 'telemetry, tracking, commanding and ranging' services for the Indian Satellite System Series satellites round the clock.
This centre controls the satellite over various phases of the mission right from injection into the transfer orbit, through the orbit raising phase, deployment, station acquisition, payload testing and in orbit control till the end of mission.
MCF Director S Rangarajan told reporters from Bangalore that over 600 experts drawn from various centres of the Indian Space Research Organisation would strive to realise the INSAT-2E mission.
Ground systems facilities were augmented for INSAT-2E, keeping in view the transponders in lower extended C-Band frequency and the 'very high resolution radiometer' and the 'high resolution charge coupled device'.
He said the feed of the satellite control earth stations has been modified for wide frequency range for KU-Band operations with 7.2 diameter limited motion antenna.
A sixth earth station was added for INSAT-2E and the third generation INSAT-3 series of satellites.
The new earth station would have a full motion antenna with 0.2/11-metre diameter. Limited motion antennas of 7.2-metre diameter were also being added at three existing earth stations, he said.
Dr Rangarajan said the scientists expected the ''smoothest-ever mission''. INSAT-2E is in final configuration now and ready for takeoff.
INSAT-2E, weighing 2,550 kg at lift-off, is the most advanced in nature in terms of technologies used in the mechanical and electronic hardware and state-of-the-art payloads.
The satellite bus supports a full payload operation during vernal equinox eclipse periods, he added.
He said the entire launch period would involve about 21 minutes. Health check of the spacecraft would begin eight minutes after takeoff. The firing of apogee motors in three different stages would be held continuously.
The solar sail of the spacecraft would be deployed on April 9, followed by operationalisation of payloads on April 17. Three control centres from Australia, Europe and Canada are involved this time to despatch data, he added.
He was happy that user agencies have despatched their experts to the MCF to cooperate with the scientists during the mission. Of the 17 transponders, 9 would be leased to Intelsat and eight to the Department of Telecommunications and Doordarshan.
He said some new elements have been used in INSAT-2E to improve its functioning. They were gallium arsenade solar cells for power generation, nickel/hydrogen battery with 100 per cent eclipse support, introduction of solar flaps and large-scale usage of hybrid microcircuits.
With modifications, the ISRO would save at least $5 million on fuel alone, he added.
Dr Rangarajan said over Rs 2.2 billion has been spent on building the satellite and the launch cost would be around Rs 3 billion. The satellite is insured for $12 million, he added.
He said expansion activities to deal with the third generation satellites and the geo-stationary satellite launch vehicles have also been commenced in parallel.
He said the centre had one dozen antennae as against just one when the centre commenced its functioning 16 years ago. The MCF supports, during the year, four on orbit satellite operations (INSAT-1D, 2A, 2B, 2C).
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