Adding another feather in their cap, ISRO scripted history again on Monday by successfully placing advanced weather satellite SCATSAT-1 and seven other satellites in orbits in its longest ever launch mission, which spanned over two hours and 15 minutes.
India Space Research Organisation’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has successfully deployed the SCATSAT-1 ocean research satellite (which will help in weather forecasting and cyclone detection) as part of an eight-satellite payload due to launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Center early on Monday.
Liftoff of the Indian rocket was on schedule at 09:12 local time (03:42 UTC). Around 17 minutes later, SCATSAT-1, the main payload of PSLV in its 37th flight, was placed in the polar sun synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 730km.
The launch vehice PSLV C-35 was carrying eight satellites- — three from India, including the weather satellite SCATSAT-1, three from Algeria, and one each from Canada and the US.
Of the three Indian satellites, two satellites were developed by educational institutions — Pratham from IIT-Bombay and Pisat from PES University, Bangalore.
The Vehicle after 2 hours 15 min coasting in space injected all the remaining 8 satellites into precise orbits. This culminates a very important mission for ISRO as it involved restarting the final 4th stage to place satellites into different orbits in a single mission. Very few countries have this highly complex capability for a dual role mission.
The challenge in the launch was igniting and shutting down the fourth-stage engine, called multiple burn technology, twice within a short span of time in a cold and low-gravity environment and letting it coast further. Isro demonstrated the technology in its two previous PSLV launches – PSLV-C34 in June 2016 and PSLV-C29 in December 2015. But the trickiest part was to cool down the engine between two restarts and protect the rocket and satellites from the heat generated when the engine is operational.
Mastering the technology meant that Isro can accommodate satellites meant for different orbits in a single rocket thereby saving costs. Earlier, they had to build separate rockets to be flown to different orbits. It would cost around Rs 120 crore on an average to build a PSLV.
Placing satellites in different orbits will also facilitate launching more such commercial satellites in the future.
The PSLV has launched 39 remote-sensing satellites for Isro, including the Mars mission of 2013-14.
With a reputation for frugal space mission, India is positioning itself as a destination for cost-effective satellite launch missions as the market gets crowded.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the successful launch of PSLV’s longest flight SCATSAT-1 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. PM Modi described the launch as a “moment of immense joy and pride”.In May, India successfully tested its first reusable satellite launch vehicle that is being seen as the unanimous solution towards achieving low-cost, reliable and on-demand space access.
“Moment of immense joy and pride for India. Congratulations to @isro on successful launch of PSLV-C35/SCATSAT-1 and 7 co-passenger satellites,” Narendra Modi said in a tweet.
The Prime Minister also said that ISRO has made 125 crore Indians proud worldwide.
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