Friday 24 May 2019

Sriharikota PSLV-C46 launch carrying RISAT-2B

Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, has started allowing common citizens to view their launches from a viewers gallery.  We came to know that there is a launch scheduled of PSLV-C46 which was carrying RISAT-2B into the orbit.

RISAT-2 is India's first satellite with a synthetic aperture radar having day-night as well as all-weather monitoring capability.

Since this was an early morning launch (5:30 am), we decided to start a day early in the afternoon and make a stopover at Tirupati. Since Tirupati is about 2:30 hours from Sriharikota, we decided to leave early morning the next day and reach the launch site in time.
2:15 PM We left from home towards K R Puram.
4:15 PM Crossed Kolar. Lots of time was spent in crossing Bengaluru city traffic.
5:10 PM Crossed Palamaner
6:25 PM Crossed Chittoor
There are no great eating places on this road beyond Kolar. So if you intend to have some refreshment, stop in Kolar. After that only coffee can be expected.
8:05 PM Arrived in The Bhimas Residency. Here is my review of the place.
We had a quick dinner and slept off for next 3 hours. The plan was to leave the place at 1:30 AM.
1:35 AM We were off on the road.
3:15 AM We arrived in Satish Dhawan Space Center. The drive into the space center is absolutely beautiful. The last few kilometers or so that you drive over the lake is just phenomenal.
There is a time-consuming security check that you have to go through.  I hope they smoothen the process as they go along.
3:25 AM We arrived in the viewing gallery. To our surprise, even at this unearthly hour, the place was fairly crowded.

While we were waiting in the gallery, they show some videos from ISRO and some details about the launch and payload.
 Unfortunately, the viewing gallery itself is not in a great place. You can't even see the rocket until it has taken off. That is probably the only damper on this experience.
The rocket took off at 5:28 AM as per my watch. Here are some pictures of the launch itself.

Here is a video of the launch.
3:55 AM We left the place, we were on our way back at 4:00 AM. Here is the video of the drive as we are crossing Pulicat Lake.
Finally, we reached our hotel in Tirupati back at 8:55 AM. We decided to catch a wink and start back for Bengaluru around 11 AM.
11:15 AM Checked out and left the hotel.
2:05 PM Reached Kolar and decided to stop and have lunch here.
5:00 PM We reached back home.

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