In yet another masterful demonstration of its space prowess, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday successfully launched its workhorse rocket PSLV-C38 from Sriharikota carrying the Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation along with 30 co-passenger satellites. Weighing 712 kg, Cartosat-2 series satellite has been specifically designed for the benefit of the defence forces.
The latest launch comes two weeks after the space agency scripted history by blasting off the GSAT-19 satellite, one of the heaviest communication satellites, with the GSLV Mark III-D1 rocket. The rocket became the heaviest to be launched by ISRO ever, with the heaviest single payload put in orbit as well.
This was the 40th flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and 17th flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors). The co-passenger satellites comprised 29 Nano satellites from 14 countries – Austria, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America in addition to a Nano satellite from India. The total weight of all the satellites carried on-board the PSLV-C38 is about 955 kg.
Cartosat-2 is a remote sensing satellite that is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series with the objective of providing high-resolution scene specific spot imagery. With the launch of a third spacecraft in Cartosat-2 series, India’s ‘eye in the sky’ is on course to become sharper and wider. According to ISRO sources, the images captured by the previous satellite in the series on India’s neighbourhood had helped New Delhi carry out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control last year.
Reflecting on the launch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was proud of the space agency’s achievement. “Congratulations to ISRO on its 40th successful Polar satellite launch carrying 31 satellites from 15 countries. You make us proud!,” PM Modi tweeted.
The satellite mission was launched from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The mission assumed significance for Tamil Nadu as it carried a satellite indigenously developed by students of a university in Kanyakumari district. Developed by Noorul Islam University, the NIUSAT satellite has been created to provide multi-spectral imagery for agricultural crop monitoring and disaster management support applications.
ISRO launched 29 international customer Nano satellites as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), commercial arm of ISRO and international customers. On Thursday, a 28-hour countdown for the launch was started at 5.29 am.
With inputs from PTI