June 8, 1979 — 2nd Indian Satellite Launched

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India’s second satellite – “Bhaskara” was hurled into space at 4 p.m. (IST) today from a Soviet cosmodrome for earth observations.

The satellite is functioning normally, according to telemetry data received at the ground stations at Sriharikota, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, in India, and Bears Lake, near Moscow, shortly after the successful launching.

The 444 kg experimental satellite, designed and built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) contains sophisticated instruments for carrying out remote sensing experiments over India using TV camera and microwave radiometers.

The launching of Bhaskara- four years after the launching of Aryabhata in April 1975 – has been hailed by Indian and Soviet leaders as another important milestone in Indo-Soviet cooperation in space research.

Bhaskara’s experiments will be useful in the fields of forestry, hydrology, snow-cover and snowmelt, geology, soils, land use and ocean surface studies. About 20 user agencies are involved in experiments for use of data from the satellite.

The orbital period of the satellite is 95.2 minutes and the inclination 50.7 degrees, the maximum height of orbit above surface of earth (apogee) will be 557 km and minimum height (perigee) 512 km.

It is powered by solar cells for normal operations and nickel cadmium batteries for eclipse operations and for peak loads.

Over the next two weeks a number of radio telecommands will be sent to the satellite from the ground stations. The various subsystems on board the satellite will thus be brought into operation in a phased manner. These operations include spinning up the satellite, controlling the spin rate, and orienting the spin axis in such a way as to facilitate acquisition of data over India by the TV cameras and the microwave radiometers. The various secondary experiments will also be turned on.

After completion of these initial operations, the tracking and commanding of the satellite and acquisition of data from the satellite will proceed according to a planned routine.

Fourteen Indian organisations and over 20 Soviet agencies were behind the building and launching the satellite.

The launch was carried out under a co-operative agreement between the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Indian Space Research Organisation, signed in 1975.

The spacecraft was launched in the presence of leading Indian and Soviet scientists including Indian Ambassador I. K. Gujral.

Immense satisfaction was expressed here over India’s success. Foremost Soviet space scientist academician Boris Etrov paid handsome tributes to Prof. Dhavan and his team of scientists.

Source: Hindustan Times