ISRO launches 6 Singapore satellites

The PSLV -C29 TeLEOS-1 lifts off successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.— Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The PSLV -C29 TeLEOS-1 lifts off successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.— Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam  

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) never misses an opportunity. This time, even as it successfully launched six Singapore satellites on Wednesday, the national space agency also tested the fourth stage of its PSLV rocket.

The test to restart the fourth stage of the PSLV rocket would help the country in its future launches while attempting to launch multiple satellites in different orbits. According to ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar, “The four-second firing test is a success. This test will help us when we launch multiple satellites with a single rocket but want to place them in different orbits.”

At 6 p.m., ISRO’s PSLV C-29 rocket lifted off from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here and in about 21 minutes, it placed all six Singapore satellites in the intended orbit before it commenced its ‘coasting’ to prepare for the test.

And some 50 minutes later, ISRO scientists at the Mission Control Centre here fired the fourth stage of the rocket for a few seconds as a test.

50 years of Singapore’s Independence

Call it coincidence or otherwise, the launch of six Singapore satellites came in the year when Singapore is celebrating its 50 years of Independence and 50 years of Indo-Singapore diplomatic ties.

“The very fact that Singapore has chosen PSLV for its maiden commercial launch shows the amount of trust they have in ISRO,” said Mission Director B. Jayakumar.

Though the sky was partially cloudy at dusk, most of the stage separation of the rocket was clearly visible to the naked eyes from the Media Centre here, even as the spacecraft was cruising towards the intended orbit, several kilometres away from the Earth’s surface.

“We have completed our major set of activities for this year and we look forward to 2016 for sending more communication, navigation and Earth observation satellites with greater vigour. We have lot more to achieve,” Mr. Kumar said, soon after the rocket placed all six satellites in orbit. Besides the primary payload 400-kg weighing TeLEOS-1 - Earth observation satellite, ISRO placed in orbit VELOX-CI (123 kg) micro-satellite, VELOX-II (13 kg) 6U-Cubesat technology demonstrator, Athenoxat-1 nano-satellite; Kent Ridge-1 (78 kg) micro-satellite and Galassia (3.4 kg) 2U-Cubesat. All the six Singapore satellites were put into orbit some 21 minutes after the lift-off at an altitude of 550 km.

In December last year, ISRO while testing the experimental flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III, also tested the re-entry of its unmanned crew module on a suborbital trajectory.

Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh, informed the Lok Sabha that Wednesday’s launch earned India 26 million euros.

ISRO has launched 17 foreign and four Indian satellites this year, including its GSAT-15 which was launched from French Guiana in November. With the latest, India has launched a total of 57 foreign satellites for 20 countries.

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