Monday, June 20, 2016

ISRO Preparing to Launch 20 Satellites Including Canadian M3MSat & GHGSat-D Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Satellite

          By Chuck Black

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has begun the final forty-eight hour countdown for its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) flight C-34.

A panoramic view of the fully integrated PSLV C-34 rocket with its 20 satellite payload being moved from its vehicle assembly building to the second launch pad (SLP) of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, earlier this month. Photo c/o ISRO.

The launcher, carrying the Indian Cartosat-2C Earth observation satellite, the Canadian Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Microsatellite (M3MSat) & the Greenhouse Gas Satellite - Demonstrator (GHGSat-D, also nicknamed "Claire"), plus 17 others satellites from a variety of nations, is scheduled to launch into a 505 km polar sun synchronous orbit (SSO) on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 at 09.26hr IST (Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 at 11:56 pm EDT).

As outlined in the June 20th, 2016 Indian Express post, "ISRO clears 48-hour countdown for launching of PSLV-C34," the ISRO Mission Readiness Review committee and Launch Authorisation Board "have cleared the 48-hour countdown starting at 09.26 hr IST on Monday, June 20, 2016 and the launch of PSLV-C34/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission for Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 09.26hr IST."

M3MSat schematics. As outlined in the EO Portal Directory M3MSat page, the "M3Msat mission was approved in 2006-2007 by the Department of National Defence (DND) and CSA (the Canadian Space Agency) as a joint microsatellite mission for maritime monitoring and messaging." As outlined in the April 28th, 2014 post, "M3MSat and the Politics of Dancing in the Crimea," the Canadian Federal government "decided not to proceed" with the planned June 2014 launch of M3MSat from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in order to protest Russian activities in the Ukraine.  Eventually the satellite ended up on the PSLV Flight C-34 Indian rocket. But only time will tell if M3MSat remains a useful addition to Canadian capabilities after all these years. Graphic c/o EO Portal.

For more information on the GHGSat-D greenhouse gas monitoring satellite, check out the November 30th, 2015 Commercial Space Special Report, "All Systems Go! GHGSat Completes Testing and is Ready for Launch."

To learn more about M3MSat, check out the June 7th, 2015 post "M3MSat Now Scheduled for Launch in 2016" and the June 19th, 2016 National Post article, "All systems go for Canadian surveillance satellite two years after launch scuttled by Russian sanctions."
Chuck Black.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As outlined in the June 21st, 2016 NASA Spaceflight Now post, "India’s PSLV-XL launches with Cartosat-2C and 19 satellites," the PSLV C-34 has successfully launched and deployed its 20 satellites.  

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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