In a first, PSLV puts 8 satellites in two different orbits

In a first, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s PSLV C-35 rocket launched a total of eight satellites, into two different orbits.

The 371 kg SCATSAT-1, a satellite for weather-related studies, was placed in the polar sun synchronous orbit at an altitude of 730 km some 17 minutes after the rocket took off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 9.12 a.m.

About two hours later, the rocket placed two satellites from two educational institutions (PISAT and PRATHAM), three commercial payloads from Algeria (ALSAT-1B, 2B and 1N) and one each for Canada (NLS-19) and the United States (Pathfinder-1).

Announcing the successful launch of all the satellites from the Mission Control Centre, ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said the Monday launch marked a "landmark day" in the history of ISRO.

The rocket was re-ignited twice during its flight to place the set of satellites in different orbits. Due to the re-ignition, the Monday's launch is by far the longest PSLV launch by ISRO.

ISRO said though it had launched several PSLV rockets in the past, this launch is "the first mission of PSLV in which it had launched its payloads into two different orbits," ISRO said.

SCATSAT-1, with a life of five years, would provide weather forecasting services through the generation of wind vector products, it said.

Students at IIT-Bombay celebrate the launch of 'Pratham', one of the satellites carried by the PSLV-C35. Photo: Vivek Bendre

The 10 kg PRATHAM by IIT Bombay intends to estimate the total electron count with a resolution of 1km x 1km location grid and PISAT (5.25 kg) from PES University in Bengaluru intends to explore remote sensing applications.

Algeria's ALSAT-1B is an earth observation satellite (103 kg), ALSAT-2B a remote sensing satellite (117 kg) and ALSAT-1N (7 kg) a technology demonstrator. Canada's NLS-19 is a technology demonstration micro satellite (8 kg) and Pathfinder-1 is a commercial high resolution imaging micro satellite (44 kg).

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