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Astronomy satellite to be launched in 2010

Astronomy satellite soon to be launched by ISRO. A File Photo

MUMBAI, (BNS): India's Astronomy satellite, ASTROSAT,  is likely to be launch in 2010 with a group of eminent scientists having overcome major challenges in the development of the satellite.

"The big challenge was that of design of a satellite attitude controlsystem that will enable accurate control of the pointing of theinstruments towards a specific direction in the sky," scientists told PTI.

Scientists belonging to theTata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) said they have completed the development phase of complex science payloads and have begun integrating them before delivery of the 1,650 kg satellite.

ASTROSAT project is a communal effort of Mumbai-based TIFR and other research institutions. The  projects total cost will be about Rs200 crore and will have a lifespan of at least five years. Three X-ray instruments are developed by TIFR out of five science payloads for the multi-wavelength satellite.

The review committee meeting has decided that the delivery of the payload to ISRO satellite Centre will commence from the middle of this year and continue till early next year to make possible the introduction of ASTROSAT in 2010 using ISRO workhorse PSLV.

The ASTROSAT will be in an equatorial orbit with inclination of about 8 degrees or less. Two star trackers and gyros will be used for the pointing control of the satellite.The Ultra-Violet Imaging Instrument has been developed jointly by Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore and Inter-university centre for astronomy and astrophysics, Pune with the involvement of TIFR.

The photon counting detectors of this instrument have been developed jointly by the Indian team and the Canadian Space Agency as science collaboration. The fifth instrument namely X-ray Sky Monitor is being made by ISRO Satellite Centre and is in advanced stages of fabrication and assembly.

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