The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has added yet another feather to its highly decorated cap. The organization today, managed to successfully launch a total of eight satellites into two different orbits — joining a very exclusive club of space agencies that are capable of performing the feat.
ISRO has really been hard at work lately, launching satellites for educational and research organizations and even other countries, in addition to its own. Well, in what is being widely hailed as its longest and most complex mission, India’s space agency today put eight satellites into two different orbits around earth, using just one rocket.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C35 was chosen for this mission. At 9:12 am today, the rocket along with its payload, was launched from the Sriharikota space center in southern India. During launch, it was carrying a total of eight satellites. The SCATSAT-1, with a net wight of 371 kg, was one of the most important out of the eight and will be deployed in the study of weather conditions.
The payload also included the PISAT and PRATHAM, which have been manufactured and sent by the PES University in Bengaluru and IIT Bombay respectively. While the former will be exploring remote sensing applications, the latter will attempt to estimate the total electron count in space.
Meanwhile, the commercial payload included three satellites from Algeria, including the ALSAT-1B, ALSAT-2B and ALSAT-1N. While 1B and 2B will be used for earth observation and remote sensing respectively, the 1N is a technology demonstrator. Also stowed abroad the PSLV-C35 were the U.S.’ Pathfinder-1 (which is a commercial high resolution imaging satellite) and Canada’s NLS-19 technology demonstration satellite.
Though only a single rocket was used for the launch, the satellites were to be placed in two different orbits. Which was the main reason why this mission was far from ordinary. The fact that ISRO achieved a 100 percent success rate has put it into an extremely exclusive club of space agencies that have managed to perform the feat.
As per ISRO,
SCATSAT-1 was placed into a 720 km Polar SSO whereas; the two Universities / Academic Institute Satellites and the five foreign satellites will be placed into a 670 km polar orbit. This is the first mission of PSLV in which payloads were launched into two different orbits.
Meanwhile, ISRO has certainly done a fantastic job. Not only did the organization bring the entire mission together in merely 25 days, but it also managed the difficult feat of igniting the PSLV-C35 for the second time, after satellite placement in the first orbit had been achieved. The fact that re-ignition was required, made today’s mission, the longest PSLV launch by ISRO.
Following the launch, PM Modi congratulated the organization by tweeting:
Our space scientists keep scripting history.
And history it is. The ability of multi-orbit placement via a single launch has the potential to significantly enhance the efficiency of ISRO launches. Considering that the organization has been besieged by a host of international orders lately — ISRO has already completed almost 70 international orders — multi orbit placement will let it provide its services in a more efficient and economical manner.
Way to go ISRO!