India on Wednesday successfully launched its fifth navigation satellite IRNSS-1E on-board the workhorse PSLV-C31 in Sriharikota, taking another step to be on par with US based Global Positioning System (GPS).
In a precise textbook launch, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C31 blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, about 110 km from Chennai at 9.31am and released the satellite into the orbit 19 minutes and 20 seconds later.
As the rocket soared into the clear blue sky at the end of the 48 hour countdown, all the four stages of PSLV executed their functions as programmed, to the joy of ISRO scientists at the mission control centre.
After the satellite’s injection into geo synchronous transfer orbit (GTO), the two solar panels of IRNSS-1E will be automatically deployed in quick succession.
The Master Control Facility in Hassan (Karnataka) would then take control of the satellite to perform orbit raising operations.
IRNSS-1E is the fifth navigation satellite in the IRNSS space system, comprising seven satellites, which would be on par with US-based GPS once the full complement of spacecraft is launched.
While four satellites would be sufficient to start operations of the IRNSS system, the remaining three would make it more “accurate and efficient”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists on the successful launch.
“Congratulating the dynamism & determination of @isro & our scientists on successful launch of PSLV C31 & putting IRNSS 1E in orbit precisely,” he tweeted.