Indian rocket puts 10 satellites in orbit at one go (Second Lead)

April 28th, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of ISRO
By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), April 28 (IANS) India Monday significantly boosted its space capabilities with the copybook launch of a Rs.700 million ($17.4 million) rocket that simultaneously placed in orbit 10 satellites - two Indian and eight foreign. The launch firmly established India as a major player in the $1 billion global satellite launch market, a significant milestone in the country’s 45-year-old space programme.

At precisely 9.23 a.m., the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C9 rose into the sky, emitting thick orange flame, and placed in orbit an Indian cartography and a mini satellite to maintain leadership in the remote sensing domain. It also slung eight nano satellites into outer space - marking the world’s second largest such mission.

The record is with Russia that launched 16 satellites at one go last year.

But there was uncertainty at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, about 80 km from the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai, soon after the rocket blasted off. While the signal that three of the satellites had been separated successfully came in, there was no immediate news about the other seven.

Scientists of the Indian space agency ISRO heaved a sigh of relief when the news that all satellites had separated came in, signalling that the mission was a success.

Fourteen minutes into the flight, the 44-metre-tall rocket first slung the 690 kg Cartosat-2A and followed it by slipping the 83 kg mini satellite and the cluster of eight nano satellites into a high polar sun synchronous orbit (SSO).

“It is a memorable moment for Team ISRO. The rocket stuck to its path without any deviation and delivered all the 10 satellites in their intended orbit,” said G. Madhavan Nair, head of India’s satellite agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), immediately after the launch.

Mission Director George Koshy said: “The success of this launch has added more responsibility on us for the prestigious Chandrayaan/moon mission.”

Immediately after the payloads were ejected into orbit, the Spacecraft Control Centre at Bangalore with the help of ISTRAC (ISRO telemetry, tracking and command network) network of stations at Bangalore, Lucknow, Mauritius, Bearslake in Russia, Biak in Indonesia and Svalbard in Sweden monitored the satellites’ health.

This is ISRO’s second successful launch this year after January when it launched an Israeli satellite.

Monday’s launch marked several firsts for ISRO - the first time an ISRO rocket carried 10 satellites at a time, the first time a mini satellite was designed and sent up and the first time the Indian space agency utilised the optimum capacity of the PSLV’s core alone configuration.

The two earlier core alone PSLVs carried a payload of 352 kg and 535 kg.

The Rs.2 billion Cartosat-2A is the thirteenth Indian Remote Sensing satellite. The data from the satellite will find applications in urban and rural infrastructure development and management as well as land and geographical information systems.

The satellite carries an advanced panchromatic camera that can take pictures with a spatial resolution of about one metre and can cover a land strip of 9.6 km.

The mini satellite incorporates many new technologies and has miniaturised subsystems apart from multi and high spectral cameras.

India, a world leader in the remote sensing data market, earns around Rs.520 million from this.

After the latest launch, India has a total of eight remote sensing satellites orbiting the earth - IRS-1C, IRS-1D, Oceansat 1, TES, Resourcesat 1, Cartosat 1 and Cartosat 2 and Cartosat 2A.

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