Heralding a new era, India late on Friday night launched its heaviest commercial space mission ever with its polar rocket successfully putting five British satellites into the intended orbit after a flawless takeoff.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) workhorse 44.4 metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C28 placed the five satellites in sun synchronous orbit about 20 minutes after its lift-off at 9.58 PM from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
“It’s been a wonderful mission. We have had an extremely successful mission,“ ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said from the Mission Control Centre amidst resounding cheers from the assembled scientists. The life of the mission is seven years.
With the overall mass of five satellites being about 1,440 kg, this launch becomes the “heaviest commercial mission” ever undertaken by ISRO and its commercial arm Antrix Corporation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, away on a 6-nation visit, also congratulated the ISRO for the successful launch.
“Successful launch of PSLV-C28 with 5 UK satellites is a moment of immense pride & joy for India. Congratulations to the @isro team,” PM Modi wrote on a micro-blogging site.
PSLV’s 30th mission saw the launch of three identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites, built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), United Kingdom, and two auxiliary satellites.
The three DMC3 satellites, each weighing 447 kg, were launched into a Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) using the high-end version of PSLV-XL.
Earlier successful launches by ISRO, Mars Orbiter Mission which was launched in Nov 5, 2013 and Chandrayaan-1 launched in Oct 22, 2008, were with similar PSLV-XL variants.
The satellites were launched as part of an arrangement to between DMC International Imaging (DMCii), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSTL, United Kingdom and Antrix Corporation Limited.
The DMC3 constellation, comprising three advanced mini satellites DMC3-1, DMC3-2 and DMC3-3, is designed to address the need for simultaneous high spatial resolution and high temporal resolution optical Earth Observation. These satellites can image any target on the Earth’s surface every day. Major application areas include surveying the resources on earth and its environment, managing urban infrastructure and monitoring disasters.
(With inputs from the PTI)