ISRO's PSLV-C-42 launches two U.K. satellites

Among the launches scheduled over the next few months, the much-awaited and delayed Chandrayaan-2, finally has a launch window, says ISRO chief Sivan.

Updated - September 17, 2018 01:30 pm IST

Published - September 16, 2018 10:56 pm IST - Sriharikota

The PSLV-C42 carrying the two satellities in Sriharikota on Sunday.

The PSLV-C42 carrying the two satellities in Sriharikota on Sunday.

The night dark skies above Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh lit up in bright orange hues as space launch vehicle PSLV-C42 lifted off and vanished into the thick black clouds, carrying two satellites from the United Kingdom – NovaSAR and S1-4 from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR).

PSLV-C-42, the lightest version of the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) flying in its core-alone version without six strap-on motors, rose into the skies at 10.08 p.m. Almost 18 minutes later, the two satellites were placed in the desired orbit by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). This was the 12th launch of a core-alone version of the PSLV.

“This was a spectacular mission. We have placed the satellite in a very, very precise orbit,” R. Hutton, Mission Director, said.

The two satellites, owned by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) were placed in a circular orbit around the poles, 583 km from the Earth. The commercial arm of ISRO, Antrix Corporation, earned more than ₹220 crore on this launch.

The NovaSAR is a technology demonstration mission designed to test the capabilities of a new low cost S-band SAR platform. It will be used for ship detection and maritime monitoring and also flood monitoring, besides agricultural and forestry applications.

The S1-4 will be used for environment monitoring, urban management, and tackling disasters.

“This unique mission is mainly for ‘ascending daytime node’ launch. This is the first time we have executed a different type of mission altogether,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said.

18 missions in next six months

Mr. Sivan said the next six months would see 18 missions – 10 satellite missions and 8 launch vehicle missions.

“We are almost going to have one launch every two weeks. Definitely the load on us is going to be huge,” he noted.

Among the launches scheduled over the next few months, the much-awaited and delayed, India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, finally has a launch window.

“Chandrayaan-2 is planned for a window from January 3 to February 16, 2019 that we are targeting. It can happen anytime during that window. But we are aiming for the beginning of the window, January 3,” Mr. Sivan said.

“Right now with the status of the rocket, the GSLV Mk-3 M1, and the present status of the satellite, we are not expecting any more delay. At the same time tests are going on. If unexpected things happen, that may have some impact. But right now, we are not anticipating any delay.”

The other launches include the GSAT series that would provide bandwidth speeds of up to 100 Gbps per second, as part of the government’s Digital India efforts, he said.

The Cartosat and Risat satellites would also be launched within the next six months, Mr. Sivan said.

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