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ISRO launches five British satellites in copy book style

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Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), India successfully put into orbit five British satellites with its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s XL variant (PSLV-XL) on Friday night in copy book style.

isroThis was the first commercial mission for ISRO in 2015. Exactly at 9.58 p.m., the PSLV-XL rocket, standing 44.4 meters tall and weighing around 320 tons, with a one way ticket tore into the night skies with fierce orange flames at its tail.

The expendable rocket carrying five British satellites cumulatively weighing around 1,440 kg as its luggage slung them into their intended orbit just over 19 minutes into its flight.

A.S. Kiran Kumar, ISRO Chairman, said: “An entirely successful launch for a customer. This time a set of new tool was developed. Five satellites were put into orbit for a customer.”

It was the heaviest commercial mission for the PSLV rocket till date though its total carrying capacity for such a mission is around 1,750 kg. The rocket blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, about 80 km from Chennai.

For the onlookers, the rocket looked like an inverted flare/torch as it lit up the night sky 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.

Of the five British satellites, three are identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites weighing 447 kg.

Of the other two satellites, CBNT-1 weighs 91 kg and also is an optical earth observation technology demonstration microsatellite, while the De-OrbitSail weighs 7 kg. This is an experimental Nano satellite for demonstration of large thin membrane sail and drag deorbiting.

Just over 17 minutes into the flight, the rocket started ejecting the DMC3 satellites one after another and they were followed by De-OrbitSail and CNBT-1 satellites.

The whole mission was completed just over 19 minutes into the flight as planned.

Immediately on the successfully ejection, scientists at the mission control center were visibly relieved and started clapping happily.

The three DMC3 and the CBNT-1 satellites are built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. The De-OrbitSail is built by Surrey Space Center.

According to ISRO, the DMC3 constellation, comprising of three advanced mini-satellites DMC3-1, DMC3-2 and DMC3-3, is designed to address the need for simultaneous high spatial resolution and high temporal resolution optical earth observation.

Launched into a single low earth orbit plane and phased with a separation of 120 degrees between them, these satellites can image any target on the earth’s surface every day.

Major application areas include surveying the resources on earth and its environment, managing urban infrastructure and monitoring of disasters.

According to ISRO, accommodating the three DMC3 satellites each with a height of about three meters within the existing payload fairing or the heat shield of the PSLV was a challenge.

Thus, a circular L-adaptor and a triangular Multiple Satellite Adapter-Version 2 (MSA-V2) were newly designed and realized by ISRO for this specific purpose.

France’s SPOT 7 satellite weighing 714 kg was the heaviest single foreign satellite carried by a PSLV rocket till now. It was launched on June 30, 2014.

Meanwhile, ISRO is also readying for the launch of GSAT6 communication satellite using its heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

The GSLV rocket’s first stage/engine has been assembled and the activities relating to that rocket assembly are progressing smoothly.

Only after the GSLV rocket launch the testing of a small model of reusable launch vehicle shaped like an aeroplane would be done, an ISRO official told IANS earlier.

Earlier, it was said the test reusable launch vehicle would happen in July.

(IANS)

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Chandrayan-2 Expected to be Launched in Early 2019

ISRO would have two missions Chandrayan-2 by GSLV Mark 3 and the PSLV P45 launching RA-SAT 2B next year.

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Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in January-March window in 2019 Pixabay
Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in January-March window in 2019 Pixabay

India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 will now be launched in the January-March window in 2019 instead of later this year as the design was changed to enable it land on the lunar surface, a top ISRO official said here today.

“We have planned to launch Chandrayaan mission in January 3. We are fixing with that (date) and targeting that. But that is an open window. We can go up to March also. As we are coming closer (the date), we may miss the target,” he said.

The reason for postponing the mission was that there were certain important changes made in the design so that it could easily land on the lunar surface, he said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a function, where bust of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space mission, was unveiled.

Asked why the weight of Chandrayaan-2 was increased by 600 kg, he said ISRO noticed during experiments that after the moon lander was ejected, the satellite would shake. So they decided that the design modification was required for landing and mass has to be increased.

Chandrayan 2
The reason for postponing the mission was that there were certain important changes made in the design so that it could easily land. Flickr Commons

“We also realised that the orbiter required more phases, which required more fuel,” he told reporters.

On the space agency’s future missions, Sivan said ISRO also plans to launch 50 satellites in the next three years.

the space agency would launch 22 satellites in 2019, the maximum in any year in the history of ISRO, he said.

“Next year from February to December we plan to have 22 missions with almost two missions per month, which is a very important activity. This tight schedule of programmes we are doing for the first time.

We have set a target.We may not be able achieve but we are targeting it. So many missions in a year is a huge target for the first time in the history of ISRO,” Sivan said.

The remaining months of 2018 would also be very hectic for ISRO as it plans to launch at least two missions every month, he said.

“Our next mission is PSLV C42, which will launch NOVASAT and S1-4. These two satellites are commercial satellites from the U.K.It is a commercial mission and is planned in September. Subsequently we have two missions each month,” the ISRO chief said.

ISRO
India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 will now be launched in the January-March window in 2019. Flickr

In October this year ISRO would launch GSAT29 for the Digital India programme and hyper spectrum imaging satellites along with 30 commercial satellites, Sivan said.

The following month GSAT-7A will be launched, while in December there would be two missions,GSLV-F11 launching AMISAT and GSAT-31, a replacement for INSAT 4CR, whose life will get over by January, he said.

ISRO would have two missions Chandrayan-2 by GSLV Mark 3 and the PSLV P45 launching RA-SAT 2B next year.

The focus area of these launches was to enhance the communication so that rural India gets high bandwidth data connectivity, somewhere between 80 GBPS to 100 GBPS, he said.

Also Read: A Dozen New Moons Found Orbiting Jupiter

Asked about GSAT 6A, with which communication had been lost after its launch in March 31 this year, he said ISRO has not given up hope and was still trying to establish radar contact with the satellite.

“We have not given up hope. We will wait till a year,” he said when asked how much time ISRO would take to announce that the GSAT 6A was a failed mission. (IANS)