INSAT-3DS, a 2,274-kg meteorological satellite, set for launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

INSAT-3DS, a 2,274-kg meteorological satellite, set for launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

India’s Latest Weather Satellite Set to Soar Aboard ISRO’s ‘Naughty Boy’ Rocket

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In a pivotal mission, the meteorological satellite INSAT-3DS is poised to journey into space atop the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Saturday evening, marking a significant moment for the rocket affectionately dubbed the ‘naughty boy’ due to its erratic performance history.

Scheduled for liftoff at 5:35 pm on Saturday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the GSLV-F14 mission marks the rocket’s 16th overall endeavor and its 10th deployment employing the indigenous cryogenic engine technology.

The success of this mission holds paramount importance for the GSLV, as it is slated to undertake the significant task later this year of launching the Earth observation satellite, NISAR, a collaborative effort between NASA and ISRO.

NISAR’s mission objective is to map the entire globe within 12 days, furnishing “spatially and temporally consistent” data crucial for understanding Earth’s ecosystem changes, monitoring ice mass, tracking sea level rise, and detecting natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis, as outlined by ISRO.

Of the 15 GSLV launches thus far, four have encountered setbacks, a stark contrast to the success rates of ISRO’s other launch vehicles, notably the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) with only three failures out of 60 missions, and the Liquid Propulsion Module (LVM-3) with a flawless record in seven missions.

Weighing 2,274 kg and designed for a mission life of 10 years, INSAT-3DS is primed to succeed INSAT-3D (launched in 2013) and INSAT-3DR (September 2016), both of which have reached the end of their operational lives. The satellite project has received full funding from the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Following approximately 18 minutes post-launch, the satellite will be inserted into a 36,647 km x 170 km elliptical orbit, commencing its operational phase. Once operational, it will deliver advanced weather observations encompassing both land and ocean surfaces. Its capabilities will aid in short-range forecasts of extreme weather phenomena like thunderstorms, facilitate visibility assessments for aviation, and contribute to studies on forest fires, smoke, snow cover, and climate dynamics.

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