ISRO gears up for Dec 25 GSAT launch

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 23, 2010 10:40 hrs

Chennai, Dec 23 (IANS) Indian space scientists are gearing up for the Dec 25 launch of the advanced communications satellite GSAT-5P. The new entrant will retire INSAT-2E sent up in 1999 and will ensure continuity of telecom, television and weather services.

'The countdown will begin Friday 11.04 a.m. and the rocket will be launched at 4.04 p.m. Saturday,' S. Satish, director at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS.

The 51-metre tall geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) carrying the 2,310 kg GSAT-5P satellite will blast off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, around 80km from Chennai.

Satish said pre-launch activities are being carried out at the rocket port and everything is proceeding at a smooth pace.

The rocket launch, originally scheduled for Monday, was aborted by ISRO Sunday when it detected a leak in one of the valves of the Russian-made cryogenic engine.

Subsequently ISRO and the Russian scientists held detailed tests to check the stability of the faulty valve.

The space agency decided Wednesday to go ahead with the launch as the test results were satisfactory.

According to ISRO officials the weather in Sriharikota is clear and they do not expect any change in plans.