India ferried five British satellites into orbit on its space warhorse PSLV-C28 that blasted off from Isro’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Srikarihota in Andhra Pradesh on Friday night.
The rocket blasted off sharp at 9:58pm from the first launch pad with five satellites together weighing around 1,440kg, marking the space agency's heaviest commercial mission so far.
A bright ball of fire streaked up the dark skies and soon vanished over Sriharikota, some 80 km from Chennai, raising cheers from the scientists sitting on the banks of computer screens monitoring the movement of the rocket. Within 20 minutes, as scheduled, the launch was successful as the satellites were injected into orbit.
“The PSLV C28 mission has been accomplished as five international satellites have been launched into orbit,” mission director announced.
Chairman ISRO AS Kiran Kumar congratulated the scientists for yet another successful mission. “It has been a wonderful mission, extremely successful in putting into orbit five of our customer satellites into the orbit.”
With this, Isro has 29 continuous successful missions.
The 44.4m tall PSLV XL version which weighed 320tonnes was a four-stage rocket with six strap-on motors for additional thrust.
Three identical optical earth observation satellites (DMC3), each weighing 447kg were placed at a 647km sunsynchronous orbit.
The rocket also carried into orbit a 91kg earth observation micro satellite named CBNT-1, and a 7kg technology demonstration nano satellite called De-OrbitSail, both from the UK.
The five international satellites were launched as part of the arrangement entered into between DMC International Imaging (DMCii), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSTL, UK and Antrix Corporation Limited.
The DMC3 constellation 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.
The last such major launch by Isro was on June 30, 2014 when France's SPOT 7 satellite weighing 714kg was carried by a PSLV rocket.