India will be launching its first indigenous astronomy satellite called ASTROSAT to study heavenly objects. It was earlier scheduled to be launched in 2005, then delayed to 2010 and will be finally launched this year. As per newspaper reports, the satellite is slated to be launched on board a PSLV rocket on its 30th flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
The total cost of the ASTROSAT launch is Rs 178 crore. The official announcement of the launch was made by Indian Space Research Organization-ISRO.
ASTROSAT comprises of five scientific instruments, all of which had been delivered to the ISRO Satellite Centre by 2014. They are:
The UV Imaging Telescope
The Scanning Sky Monitor
The Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride Imager
The Soft X-ray Telescope
Three identical Large Area Xenon Proportional Counters
Four other institutions have joined ISRO in payload development. They are as follows:
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Indian Institute of Astrophysics
Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Raman Research Institute
Two of the payloads are made in collaboration with Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and University of Leicester, UK.
ASTROSAT is one of two scientific missions that have long been overdue - the other being the Aditya-1 mission to study the Sun. As part of the same mission, four other smaller American, one Indonesian and one Canadian satellites will also be launched.
The PSLVC-30 will carry the ASTROSAT along with six other foreign co-satellites.
ASTROSAT is capable of making an observation in the Ultra Violet, optical, low and high energy X-Rays wavebands at the same time.