Four months after an unsuccessful satellite launch, Indian space agency ISRO sent up another rocket The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV lifted off today at 9.29 am from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, carrying India’s 100th satellite along with 30 others. The lift-off was postponed by a minute from 9:28 am as there was fear of collision due to space debris. The surveillance satellite from the “Cartosat 2” series will keep watch on India’s hostile neighbors. The last launch of IRNSS-1H – India’s first privately built satellite — on August 31 last year had failed because of a freak accident. This would be the 42nd flight of the PSLV.
Here are 10 facts about the ISRO launch:
- The 30 other satellites the PSLV carried today includes two other satellites from India and 28 satellites from six countries — Canada, Finland, France, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Scientists said the mission will be a unique one, since the satellites will be launched in two orbits. Thirty of the satellites were launched in an orbit 550 km about, and one 359-km above the Earth.
- This was done through what scientists call the “multiple burn technology” under which the rocket’s engine is switched off and then switched on to control its height.
- The whole process of lift-off and the placing of satellites in two orbits takes 2 hours 21 minutes — the longest so far. The 28-hour countdown for the launch of the PSLV started at 5.29 am on Thursday.
- The 710-kg earth observation satellite the PSLV is carrying is the third in the Cartosat 2 series. The last satellite of the series had been launched successfully in June 2016.
- ISRO had brushed off speculations of sabotage after the last satellite launch failure. Scientists said a tiny but vital equipment of the rocket had failed, due to which its protective heat shield could not be separated.
- The heat shield of a satellite is meant to protect it from the heat generated by the friction against atmosphere during take-off.
- The IRNSS-1H was expected to replace one of the seven orbiting satellite of NAViC. Its launch became necessary after three atomic clocks of one satellite started malfunctioning. Atomic clocks provide navigational data, and they are crucial for a Global positioning system.
- NAViC, a system of seven satellites, powers India’s powerful homegrown Global Positioning System.
- ISRO’s workhorse PSLV rocket weighs nearly 320 tonnes and stands up to 44.4 meters, equivalent to a 15-storey building.
source: ISRO, NDTV