ISRO : India gets first ‘space observatory’ as Indian Space Research Organisation launches “ASTROSAT”

Monday, Sep 28, 2015,11:16 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Reaching another milestone, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched Astrosat today morning, India’s first dedicated space observatory, from the space port of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It is aimed at studying celestial objects.

The 1513 kg Astrosat was launched along with other payload that included six foreign satellites. The Astrosat, launched this morning, is India’s first attempt at setting up an observatory in space, a place from where it can study cosmological phenomena.

Astrosat will be a multi-wavelength astronomy mission on an IRS-class satellite in a 650-km, near-equatorial orbit.

Astrosat will carry five astronomy payloads for simultaneous multi-band observations.  First one is twin 40-cm Ultraviolet Imaging Telescopes (UVIT) covering Far-UV to optical bands. Second one is three units of Large Area Xenon Proportional Counters (LAXPC) covering medium energy X-rays from 3 to 80 keV with an effective area of 6000 sq.cm. at 10 keV. Fourth one is a Soft X-ray. Fifth one will is a telescope (SXT) with conical foil mirrors and X-ray CCD detector, covering the energy range 0.3-8 keV. The effective area will be about 120 sq.cm. at 1 keV. Fourth one is a Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride coded-mask imager (CZTI), covering hard X-rays from 10 to 150 keV, with about 10 deg field of view and 500 sq.cm. effective area. Last one is a Scanning Sky Monitor (SSM) consisting of three one-dimensional position-sensitive proportional counters with coded masks. The assembly will be placed on a rotating platform to scan the available sky once every six hours in order to locate transient X-ray sources.

In some ways, Astrosat  is a very different mission for ISRO and will create a new history in India. Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan, the moon and Mars missions respectively, were essentially technology-demonstration projects, at least when they were planned.

Along with Astrosat, four identical nano-satellites of Spire Global Inc., the US, a micro-satellite from Indonesia and a nano-satellite of the University of Toronto, Canada are also set to take off.