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Indo-French satellite Saral to take off on 12-12-12

Indo-French satellite Saral to take off on 12-12-12
The Indian space agency, which scored a century in space missions Sunday, has set a 12-12-12 launch date to send an Indo-French satellite into space to study ocean parameters.

The satellite, named “SARAL”, would zoom into space on board Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C20 from the Sriharikota spaceport on Dec 12 this year, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan said here Wednesday.

Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh is about 370 km from Bangalore.

“As somebody said it’s 12-12-12 (launch date),” he said at the Bangalore Space Expo 2012 that began here Wednesday.

According to CNES, the French National Space Agency, SARAL stands for Satellite with ARgos and ALtika or “simple” in Hindi.

ARGOS system is dedicated to localisation, acquisition and distribution of environmental data while AltiKa is an innovating Ka-band altimeter system, dedicated to accurate measurement of ocean surface topography, CNES says.

On ISRO’s future plans, Radhakrishnan said the agency would like to focus on cutting edge research while Indian industry could build the launch vehicles.

“Operational launch vehicles like the PSLV and in future the GSLV could be built by the Indian industry,” he said.

This “consortium approach” would be beneficial to all as ISRO could focus on “high-end research and development activity”, he said.

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