On Monday morning at 10 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) carrying Astrosat and six other satellites lifted off.
PSLV-C30 also onboarded four US nano satellites, a microsatellite from Indonesia a nanosatellite from Canada – into their respective orbits. This is the first time India is launching a US satellite.
Astrosat was placed in an orbit 644.651km from earth, as desired. The satellite achieved an expected inclination of 6.002 degree.”The mission is successful. It is a well-professed and synchronous efforts.” Satish Dhawan Space Centre director P Kunhikrishnan said after the launch. “It’s a hard earned gift,” he added.
With the successful launch of ASTROSAT, India gained an entry into the select club of nations having its own space observatory after the US, Japan, Russia and Europe.
The PSLV-XL rocket with seven satellites cumulatively weighing 1,631 kg climbed up steadily gathering speed amidst the cheers of Indian space agency officials and the media team assembled here.
The expendable rocket carried Rs.180 crore ASTROSAT, India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory that will help in understanding the universe, and six other foreign satellites.
While ASTROSAT with a five year life span weighed 1,513 kg, the six foreign satellites (four from the US and one each from Indonesia and Canada) together weighed 118 kg.
According to an official of Antrix Corporation – the commercial arm of India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) – a deal has been signed to put into orbit nine American nano/micro satellites by the end of 2016.
Immediately on the successfully ejection, scientists at the mission control centre were visibly relieved and started clapping happily. In the process India crossed the half century milestone when it its rocket injected the six foreign satellites successfully into their intended orbit.
Till date, India has launched 45 foreign satellites for a fee.
ISRO chairman A.S.Kiran Kumar described it as an “eventful day” and congratulated the entire ISRO team.