India to launch a Third World satellite


Hyderabad : India’s space agency will in January launch a ‘Third World’ remote sensing satellite, images from which can be received free by universities and research organisations of developing countries.

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“All they would need to spend is on a 3.7-metre dish antenna that will not cost much,” D.V.A. Raghavamurthy, Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) director of small satellite projects, said here recently. The imageries can be used for research, mapping, and disaster management, he said.

The Third World Satellite (TWSAT) that will circle the globe at a height of about 630 km will weigh only 100 kg – thanks to advanced technologies used to miniaturize payloads. The satellite will have a life of three years and will be controlled from Bangalore, Raghavamurthy said.

The TWSAT is the first of several micro and mini satellites in the 100-kg and 450-kg class that ISRO is planning to launch in the next five years, R.M. Samudraiah of the ISRO Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad told IANS.

According to Samudraiah, ISRO will set up a constellation of three micro-satellites for agriculture resource monitoring and another constellation of three mini-satellites to generate daily information on oceans.

A micro-satellite to measure aerosol and trace gases and a mission for study of earth’s near space environment are being considered with a constellation of two mini-satellites, Samudraiah said.

One more micro-satellite called Youthsat will be built along with Moscow University and launched in 2009, he said.

Also to be launched in 2009 is the Indo-French mission called SARAL that will use ISRO’s 450-kg satellite platform equipped with France-supplied instruments to study ocean circulation and sea surface elevation.