With the launch of its PSLV C36 Resource Sat-2A satellite, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) continues to forward India’s space research programme. The latest in a series of satellites launches by ISRO, the PSLV C36 is intended to continue the remote sensing data services to global users and will also carry similar payloads as carried by its predecessors Resourcesat-1 and Resourcesat-2.
Here’s a look at the satellite launches that ISRO has undertaken in 2016:
1. PSLV-C36 Resource SAT-2A, December 7: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launches its PSLV C36 Resource Sat-2A at 10.25 am Wednesday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. It is the 38th flight of ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and is intended to continue the remote sensing data services to global users.
2. PSLV SCATSAT-1, September 26: ISRO successfully injects the PSLV SCATSAT-1 carrying eight satellites into two different orbits. The rocket’s main cargo was the 371-kg SCATSAT-1 meant for ocean and weather related studies where the other seven satellites included three from Algeria and one each from the US and Canada. The launch was ISRO’s longest mission spread over two hours and fifteen minutes.
3. GSLV F05, September 8: ISRO conducts the first successful operational flight of its heavy-lift GSLV rocket with an indigenous cryogenic engine. The GSLV F05, powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine in its upper stage, carried a 2,211-kg INSAT-3DR weather satellite, the heaviest launched from India, into space and into an “orbit very close to the intended one”.
4. PSLV-C34, June 22: Setting a record, ISRO successfully launches 20 satellites, including its earth observation Cartosat-2 series, in a single mission on board its workhorse PSLV-C34 from the spaceport in Sriharkota, Andhra Pradesh. Of the 19 foreign satellites, 12 are earth imaging “Dove satellites” of USA and another American satellite. The rest are from Canada (two) and one each from Germany and Indonesia.
5. Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), May 23: ISRO successfully conducts the maiden test flight of a Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. By doing so ISRO joined the race to develop a space vehicle that can fly numerous times into space like aeroplanes.
6. IRNSS-1G, April 28: With the successful launch of IRNSS-1G, India completed its landmark mission for a regional navigational system on par with US-based GPS. The launch was the seventh and last in the constellation of satellites that make up the system. The satellite offers services like terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, navigation aide for hikers and travellers, visual and voice navigation for drivers.
7. IRNSS 1F, March 10: IRNSS 1F, the sixth and penultimate in a series of satellites that will provide location services over India and neighbouring countries, is launched by ISRO on PSLV C-32. The first satellite in the series was launched in July 2013, followed by another one in April, 2014 and the third in October the same year. The system is designed to provide location accuracy better than 10 metres.
8. IRNSS-1E, January 20: ISRO launches the IRNSS-1E on Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C31, from Sriharikota, making it the fifth of the seven satellites that will make the constellation. The IRNSS is ‘regional’ and will cover the area over India and 1,500 km from India’s political boundaries, unlike the GPS which is ‘global’. However, because it is specific to the Indian region, it is expected to be even more accurate than the GPS. The IRNSS constellation had already started working after the launch of the fourth satellite in March last year, the minimum number required to make the system operational.