By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), June 22 (IANS) India on Wednesday morning successfully put into orbit its own Cartosat earth observation satellite and 19 other satellites, including one belonging to the Google company Terra Bella.
With this India successfully completed yet another multiple satellite launches in a single rocket mission.
“The PSLV rocket has done its job. We have current generation Cartosat satellite,” A.S.Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said soon after the launch.
“One of the main aspects of the launch is the shutting down and the restarting of the rocket’s fourth stage twice. This time we did as a trial-restarting of the engine. We did a trail in an earlier PSLV rocket,” said S. Somanath, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
The rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s (PSLV) main cargo was India’s 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation with a design life of five years.
This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B.
The other 19 satellites weighing totally around 560 kg are from US, Canada, Germany and Indonesia as well as one satellite each from Chennai’s Sathyabama University and College of Engineering, Pune.
The entire mission was over in around 26 minutes.
The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications.
According to ISRO, the 110 kg SkySat Gen2-1 belonging to Terra Bella, a Google company, is a small earth imaging satellite capable of capturing sub-metre resolution imagery and high definition video.
The Planet Lab’s Dove Satellites are also earth imaging satellites. A total of 12 Dove satellites each weighing 4.7 kg were carried in this mission inside three QuadPack dispensers, ISRO said.
The PSLV rocket also put into orbit the 85 kg M3MSat from Canada. The technology demonstration mission is jointly funded and managed by Defence Research and Development Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.
The other satellites that were launched are: 120 kg LAPSN-A3 of Indonesia, the 130 kg BIROS, from German Aerospace Centre, Germany and the 25.5 kg GHGSat-D, Canada.
Exactly at 9.26 a.m. the PSLV rocket standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 320 tonne tore into the morning skies with fierce orange flames at its tail.
Gathering speed every second the rocket raced towards the heavens amidst the cheers of the ISRO officials and the media team assembled at the rocket port here.
At the rocket mission control room Indian space scientists at ISRO were glued to their computer screens watching the rocket escaping the earth’s gravitational pull.
Just over 17 minutes into the flight, the PSLV rocket ejected Cartosat at an altitude of around 515 km.
It was followed by the two other Indian satellites -the 1.5 kg Sathyabamasat from Sathyabama University that would collect data on green house gases and the 1 kg Swayam satellite from College of Engineering, Pune, to provide point-to-point messaging services to the HAM radio community.
Soon the other satellites were put into orbit.
It was the first time that ISRO is launching 20 satellites with one rocket.
In 2008, the ISRO had launched 10 satellites with the PSLV rocket.
With the success of Wednesday’s rocket mission, India has successfully launched 74 satellites for international customers.