Three decades of circling the sky (To go with Indian rocket puts 10 satellites in orbit at one go)

April 28th, 2008 - 8:00 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of ISRO

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Thirty-one years back India’s first satellite Aryabhatta was launched via Russian space vehicle Intercosmos. Monday India’s own rocket created history by placing 10 satellites including eight from other countries in orbit around the earth. India’s space odyssey started in April 1975 as an experiment. Today, it is a multipurpose commercial programme.

Here are the high points of India’s space programme:

1975: First Indian satellite Aryabhatta launched on April 19, 1975. It provided technological experience in building and operating a satellite system.

1979: Bhaskara-I, an experimental satellite for earth observations launched. Fitted with television cameras, the satellite collected data related to hydrology, forestry and geology. It also studied the state of the ocean and water vapour in the atmosphere.

1980: Rohini Satellite (RS-I) placed in orbit through an Indian made space launch vehicle (SLV-3).

1981: Bhaskara-II launched with an objective of developing microwave remote sensing technology in the country. It acquired data like soil moisture conditions of the Indian land mass.

The same year also saw APPLE, an experimental geostationary communication satellite, being launched successfully.

1982: INSAT-1A launched

1984: Indo-Soviet space mission launched. Russian spacecraft Soyuz T - 11, carrying Rakesh Sharma and two Russian astronauts, went to space in April 1984.

1990: INSAT-1D launched in June 1990. A multifunctional satellite, INSAT-1D provides telephone, television and weather observation services for the country.

1994: Second developmental launch of polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) with IRS-P2 satellite on board. The satellite successfully placed in polar sun synchronous orbit.

1999: For the first time Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched three satellites in a single vehicle. PSLV carried the 1,050 kg Indian remote sensing satellite IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT), Korean KITSAT-3 and German DLR-TUBSAT from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

With this India entered the arena of commercial satellite launch service.

2001: India’s PSLV-C3 launched three more satellites - Technology Experiment Satellite (India), BIRD of Germany and Belgian PROBA satellite into their intended orbit.

2004: The first operational flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) successfully launched India’s educational satellite (EDUSAT).

2005: India launched CARTOSAT-1, a state-of-the-art remote sensing satellite built by ISRO. CARTOSAT-1 carries two advanced panchromatic cameras that take black and white stereoscopic pictures of the earth in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

2007: ISRO’s workhorse PSLV put Agile, a 352-kg Italian astronomical satellite, into orbit.

Agile was the first foreign satellite to ride exclusively on the PSLV - reportedly for a consideration of $11 million (around Rs. 490 million).

2008: On January 21, ISRO successfully placed an Israel satellite Tecsar in the orbit reaffirmed its position among the elite group of nations capable of commercial launches.

An ecstatic ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair said after the successful launch of Italian satellite Agile last year: “We once again confirmed to the world our serious presence in the satellite launch world.”

2008: On April 28, India’s space programme made history with the successful launch of a Rs.700 million ($17.4 million) rocket that placed in orbit 10 satellites - two Indian and eight foreign.

At precisely 9.23 a.m., PSLV-C9 rose into the sky 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.

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