After over four months, the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) is back in the game as its powerboat Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) successfully placed 31 satellites in two different orbits in one of the longest missions.
The launch was also significant for another reason — ISRO demonstrated multiple-burn technology that it tested in three previous launches.
This was PSLV’s 42nd flight, and ISRO’s 100th satellite launch. The PSLV-C40 successfully placed the Cartosat-2 series satellite in a sun synchronous orbit.
Friday’s successful launch comes about four months after ISRO’s PSLV-C39 failed following a technical snag involving its heat shield. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO scientists for the successful launch, saying the moment signified the country’s “bright future” in its space programme.
PSLV-C40 lifted off at 9.28am and soared into a cloudy sky. After a perfect flight sequence, each of which was applauded by Isro scientists, the four-stage rocket first injected the Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation into a 505-km polar sun synchronous orbit about 17 minutes after lift-off. Then, India’s nano satellite and 28 payloads from six countries, including the US and the UK, weighing 613kg were released into orbit one by one in a space of about seven minutes.
In a multi-orbit manoeuvre, the micro satellite built by ISRO was placed in orbit after PSLV-C40 was brought down to 359.5km in a polar sun synchronous orbit. The fourth stage was finally shut off at 2 hours 21 minutes, thus making the mission the longest ever by ISRO.
With PSLV, ISRO indeed is giving a tough competition to other players in the game, like SpaceX and Boeing. Who will win the game? Only time will tell!