Isro successfully launches PSLV rocket, 100th satellite Cartosat-2 placed into orbit
The successful launch of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV C-40 that placed a 710-kg Cartosat-2 satellite, seventh of the series, and 30 co-passenger satellites on Friday morning was met with elation and relief at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
“ISRO is starting 2018 with the successful launch of Cartosat, a nanosat, microsat and 28 customer satellites,” ISRO’s outgoing chairperson AS Kiran Kumar said. (LIVE UPDATES)
“We are happy to provide a new year’s gift to the country,” he added.
The agency’s 100th launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota was closely watched in India and across the world after a failure on August 31 last year.
The 41st flight had a normal lift-off and everything happened as planned, according to ISRO, but failed to launch due to a glitch in heat-shield separation.
Kiran Kumar said that the heat shield problem had been addressed.
“The problem is properly understood and rectified,” he said.
It has been an eventful week for India’s space agency. The launch that was earlier scheduled for January 10 was deferred to Friday. And, the government announced earlier this week that K Sivan will take over as ISRO chairperson replacing Kiran Kumar.
“It is a befitting tribute to our beloved chairman, who has been a driving force for ISRO, and an excellent welcome launch for our new chairman designate,” P Kunhikrishnan, director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, said.
The Cartosat-2 remote-sensing satellite, the main payload onboard the PSLV C-40, will boost data services for users that will be used in urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, monitoring of road networks, water distribution, land use mapping.
The co-passenger satellites comprise one microsatellite and one nanosatellite from India as well as three microsatellites and 25 nanosatellites from Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. The total weight of all the 31 satellites onboard the PSLV-C40 is about 1323kg.
The 28 international customer satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), the commercial arm of ISRO, and the foreign countries.
“The mission was important. We were coming to the launch pad after a major failure,” Sivan said. “Many customers came to us even after the failure, that shows their confidence in us,” he added.
The space agency is looking forward to major missions - the second onboard the GSLV and the Chandrayaan II launch - this year and by June, it hopes to deploy 250 satellites.
ISRO made almost Rs 300 crore from foreign satellite launches in 2016-17 and officials have maintained over the past year that smaller satellite launches will play a big role in the future.