EDUSAT launched successfully
Sriharikota, Sept. 20 (PTI): EDUSAT, the world's first and India's exclusive satellite for educational services, was successfully launched from the Space Centre here this evening despite murky weather conditions.
The 1950-kg. satellite, the heaviest built by the Indian Space Research Organisation, and carried by the 49-metre Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F-01) was placed in the Geosynchronous stationary orbit, about 17 minutes after the vehicle's perfect take-off at 4.01 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here into the murky sky.
The satellite, which will provide a fillip to distance education in the country, has a mission life of seven years. It will be co-located with Kalpana-1 and INSAT-3C satellites already in orbit. This is the first operational flight of GSLV.
Scores of scientists, including the ISRO Chairman, Madhavan Nair, and his predecessor, Dr Kasturi Rangan, witnessed the "perfect" launch.
Though in his immediate reaction, Nair said India had once again proved that it can undertake satellite projects with "perfection and thoroughness" to meet any global standards, at a press briefing later, he said the launch took place against "many odds" as the scientists were worried over atmospheric conditions.
"Yesterday, there was heavy downpour and lightning. We virtually thought of postponing the launch," Nair said adding "scientists, using radar systems, looked at meteorological parameters and by 9.30 am today, we took a decision to go ahead with the final countdown."
"This is one of the finest missions ISRO has had. The launch went off well without any deviation and on dot," Nair said.
The main motor, and various stages including the cryogenic stage supplied by Russia, and all on-board computers performed well as planned.
The scope of the Edusat programmes would be realised in three phases. In the first phase, Visvesvariah Technological University in Karnataka, Y B Chavan State University in Maharashtra and Rajiv Gandhi Technical university in Madhya Pradesh would be covered.
The second phase would see inclusion of two more States and a national institution and in the third and final phase, Edusat network would become fully operational.
Nair said there was heavy shortage of quality teachers in various fields. "There is also need to reach the remote parts of the country and providing adult literacy programme. All these are planned to be fulfilled by distant connectivity which can be achieved by Edusat."
"We will be able to link various institutions at higher education levels, primary schools, secondary schools and also the villages," Nair said adding "we have already linked the Visvesvariah University with 100 engineering colleges and the programmes are being conducted on a regular basis."
"We have already signed an MOU with IGNOU and will soon be signing with All India Council for Technical Education. In the next three months, we will sign with 20 major educational institutions in the country and discussions are already on with various agencies."
The Edusat has specially been configurated for the audio-visual medium, employing digital interactive classrooms and multi-media and multi-centric systems.
The satellite will have multiple regional beams covering different parts of India -- five Ku-band transponders with spot beams covering, northern, north-eastern, eastern, southern and western regions, a Ku-band transponder with its 'footprint' covering the mainland and six other C-band transponders with their 'footprints' covering entire country.
The concept of beaming educational programmes through satellites was effectively demonstrated for the first time in India in 1975-76 through Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE), conducted using the American Application Technology Satellite.
Later, with the commissioning of INSAT system in 1983, a variety of educational programmes were telecast. With the success of the INSAT-based educational services, a need was felt to launch a satellite dedicated exclusively for educational services and the ISRO conceived the Edusat project in October 2002.
The cost of the satellite was Rs. 90 crores and that of the launch vehicle around Rs.160 crores.