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Final countdown of RISAT-II marked by anxious moments

Press Trust of India  |  Sriharikota 

The final countdown to the launch of RISAT-II satellite was marked by some anxious moments before ISRO scientists overcame a last minute glitch.
An 'umblical' connector from the top of PSLV-C12 got detached from the launch vehicle and fell on the others and about half a dozen connectors were "thrown out", ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair told reporters here.

"As usual, we had some drama yesterday on the countdown process. Last time (during launch of Chandrayaan-1 moon mission), it was the monsoon and rain which played havoc."

"This time, it (connector) simply fell on the connectors behind one after the other. About half a dozen connectors were thrown out. With that condition, we could not have gone on with the launch," he said.

But he said the ISRO team, being "real crisis managers," rose to the ocassion and made up six hours of countdown time working without a break, setting everything right and putting it all back.

"I don't think we can do better precision navigation than what happened yesterday," he said after the successful launch of the satellite.

Describing RISAT-II  as a "new year gift" to the country, he said it would be an asset and that only four nations had so far successfully launched such satellites.

Nair said every sub-system on board has performed to full satisfaction. The uniqueness of this mission was that for the first time, an indigenous computer, called advance mission computer, has been put on board, replacing the 30-year-old microcomputer.

"In the past, we have been depending heavily on the Canadian Radar satellite for our usage. Now we will become independent with our own indigenous capabilities in having the Radar imaging. It has got a very wide variety of application especially for the disaster management."

Nair said it is the first time that India is possessing a satellite working on microwave band, with the capacity to see through the clouds and can identify objects on the ground like water bodies, forest coverage and vegetation very precisely.

He declined to reveal the cost of the satellite, citing "commercial secrecy".

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First Published: Mon, April 20 2009. 14:06 IST