In yet another sign of how rapidly India’s space program has progressed, ISRO today successfully launched ASTOSAT, India’s first Multi Wavelength Space Observatory. With this, India also becomes only the fifth nation in the world to achieve such a feat.
Apart from ISRO’s success, PSLV too continued its record run of consecutive successful launch — this one being its 13th — and launched six foreign customer satellites into a 644.6 X 651.5 km orbit inclined at an angle of 6 deg to the equator along with India’s ASTROSAT. ISRO says that the achieved orbit is very close to the intended one.
PSLV was launched today in its heaviest ‘XL’ version with six strap-on motors of the first stage. The launch took place from the First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India.
The 320 tonne, 45 m tall PSLV-C30 carrying seven satellites including the 1513 kg ASTROSAT, lifted off at 10:00 Hrs IST. About twenty two minutes after lift-off, ASTROSAT was successfully placed in orbit and separated from the fourth stage of PSLV-C30. The separation of all the six co-passenger satellites was completed in the subsequent three minutes. The seven satellites carried by PSLV-C30 together weighed about 1631 kg at lift-off.
Soon after its separation from PSLV-C30, the two solar arrays of ASTROSAT were automatically deployed and the Spacecraft Control Centre at the Mission Operations Complex of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took control of ASTROSAT.
ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe. ASTROSAT is designed to observe the universe in the Visible, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum simultaneously with the help of its five payloads.
Through 30 successful flights during 1994-2015 period, ISRO’s dark horse PSLV, has launched a whopping 84 satellites till date — including the seven satellites successfully launched today. The vehicle has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility by successfully launching satellites into a variety of orbits including polar Sun Synchronous, Geosynchronous Transfer and Low Earth orbits of small inclination.
So far, 51 satellites have been launched by PSLV for customers from abroad. Today’s launch of six co-passenger satellites by PSLV-C30 was facilitated by Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a government of India Company under the Department of Space (DOS).
In the coming days, ASTROSAT will be brought to the final operational configuration and all its five scientific payloads will be thoroughly tested before the commencement of regular operations.