India’s Weather Satellite INSAT-3D, carrying advanced weather monitoring payloads, was today launched successfully by Ariane-5 (VA214) launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana. According to a Press Release issued by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) ,after a smooth countdown lasting 11 hours and 30 minutes, the Ariane-5 launchvehicle lifted off right on schedule at the opening of the launch windowat 01:24 hours IST today. After a flight of 32 minutes and 48 seconds,INSAT-3D was placed in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO),very close to the intended one.
Soon after the separation of INSAT-3D from the Ariane-5’s upper cryogenic stage, the satellite’s solar panel automatically got deployed. ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the control of INSAT-3D immediately. Preliminary health checks of all the subsystems of INSAT-3D bus were performed and the satellite’s health is satisfactory. In the coming days, orbit raising manoeuvres will be performed on INSAT-3D using the satellite’s own propulsion system to place it in the 36,000 km high Geostationary Orbit. After placing the satellite at 82 deg East orbital slot, it is planned to turn on the meteorological payloads of INSAT-3D in the second week of August 2013 and to extensively test them. With a lift-off mass of 2060 kg, INSAT-3D carries four payloads – Imager, Sounder, Data Relay Transponder and Satellite Aided Search & Rescue payload. Among them, the six channel imager can take weather pictures of the Earth and has improved features compared to the payloads in KALPANA-1 and INSAT-3A, the two Indian Geostationary Satellites providing weather services for the past one decade.
The 19 channel sounder payload of INSAT-3D adds a new dimension to weather monitoring through its atmospheric sounding system, and provides vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone. Data relay transponder, the third payload carried by INSAT-3D, receives the meteorological, hydrological, oceanographic parameters sent by Automatic Data Collection platforms located at remote uninhabited locations and relays them to a processing centre for generating accurate weather forecasts. INSAT-3D is also equipped with a search and rescue payload that picks up and relays alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land based users and relays them to the mission control centre to facilitate speedy search and rescue operations. ISRO has taken up the responsibility of end-to-end reception and processing of INSAT-3D data and the derivation of meteorological parameters with India Meteorological Department (IMD), New Delhi. An indigenously designed and developed INSAT-3D Meteorological Data Processing System (IMDPS) is installed and commissioned at IMD, New Delhi with a mirror site at Space Applications Centre, Bhopal and Ahmedabad.