Space agency ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network ‘ISTRAC’ has designed and developed a Ship Borne Transportable (SBT) Antenna Terminal to meet the launch vehicle telemetry tracking and command requirements. The 4.6 meter Ship Borne Antenna System has been built indigenously, fulfilling all specifications and has established in-house capability for meeting future requirements, the space agency said.It has also improved the operational reliability due to in-house know-how of the system engineering, besides reducing the cost considerably, it added. The city-based ISTRAC provides tracking support for all satellite and launch vehicle missions of ISRO and also provides space operations support for Deep Space Missions. According to ISRO, for supporting Deep Space Missions, a large number of ground stations are required to provide TTC support during the launch and initial phase, and based on the launch vehicle trajectory and visibility requirement, many a time, the TTC stations are to be located in mid sea wherein conventional Ground Station Antenna will not be suitable.
In order to cater to these specific requirements, ISTRAC designed and developed the 4.6 meter SBT Antenna Terminal that meets the launch vehicle TTC requirements, it said. Noting that Mechanical Systems Area (MSA) of ISTRAC made a detailed study of technical requirements, availability of similar systems internationally and derived state-of-the-art specifications, ISRO said the SBT Antenna system consists of 3-axis Antenna Mount, a Motion Simulator, Reflector and Feed, Servo Control Systems and RF Electronics. The Antenna system was realised with the participation of Indian Industries and has been tested and validated on a motion simulator. The final system performance and validation was carried out by a sea trial, wherein the antenna system was integrated on Sagar Manjusha ship hired from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
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ISRO said the ship was stationed at a specified observation point in the Bay of Bengal and has successfully tracked PSLV-C38. PSLV-38 was launched on June 23 from the spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, carrying the Cartosat-2 series satellite – a dedicated satellite for the defence forces – along with 30 nano satellites as co-passengers.