India has achieved another milestone in the field of space and astronomy. India has successfully launched ASTROSAT, a space observatory aimed at undertaking a detailed understanding of the universe and six foreign satellites.
ASTROSAT is the first dedicated space observatory that was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in its 30th flight, injected ASTROSAT and six foreign satellites into the orbit about 25 minutes after a perfect lift-off.
The six foreign satellites also included four from the US. This is the first time that India has launched US satellites that belong to a San Francisco-based company under an agreement signed with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). These US satellites are non-visual remote sensing satellites ‘focusing primarily on maritime intelligence through vessel tracking’ via the AIS, ISRO said.
“I congratulate the entire ISRO community for the wonderful job they have done,” said ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar while addressing the gathering at the Mission Control Centre.
ASTROSAT which is said to have a mission life of 5 years, has unique features including simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.
The scientific objectives of ASTROSAT mission are to understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes. It will also estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars and to study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy.
The launch was also witnessed by Union Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Choudhry, who later congratulated the ISRO scientists who cheered after the perfect lift-off.
Choudhry said that the space programme was “exactly going as per our present Prime Minister’s vision and plan” and what he said in the United States recently.
“Relationships our country is now harnessing and nourishing is the reason ISRO was able to launch American satellites from here,” Choudhry said.
With a lift-off mass of about 1,513 kg, ASTROSAT was first injected into a 650 km orbit by PSLV-C30. It was then followed by the other six satellites in the space of about three minutes.
So far, a total of 51 satellites that belong to 20 foreign countries have been launched successfully by ISRO. The countries include Germany, France, Japan, Canada and UK.
“I congratulate the entire ISRO team present and past who have started these missions. This being the 30th success I am sure you will be doing many more successful launches,” Choudhry said while welcoming the 30th consecutive success of PSLV.
“We are getting ready with another dedicated commercial mission in PSLV C29 with six satellites from Singapore. All of us must be proud to see PSLV has established its prominent presence in the international space market,” Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre Kunhi Krishnan said.
The spacecraft control centre at Mission Operations Complex of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru will manage the satellite during its mission life.
(With inputs from PTI)