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ISRO puts ‘Sharp Eye’ into orbit

The PSLV-C43 with the HysIS and 30 other satellites taking off from Sriharikota.PTI

The PSLV-C43 with the HysIS and 30 other satellites taking off from Sriharikota.PTI  

Workhorse launch vehicle PSLV C-43 injects Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite into space

Nearly three minutes after lift-off on Thursday, India’s workhorse launch vehicle, the PSLV, carrying 31 satellites on board soared in a trajectory crossing the path of the Sun and sped to inject India’s Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS), being dubbed ‘Sharp Eye’, towards the launcher’s intended first orbit.

Over the course of the next one hour, the team at Mission Control waited for the PSLV C-43 to come up on the other side of the Equator to insert 30 small satellites from various countries into another orbit as requested by the customers. The 30 satellites were part of a commercial launch.

In its 13th flight of the Core-Alone version and 45th launch of the PSLV, ISRO carried one satellite each from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Malaysia, Netherlands and Spain, and 23 satellites from the U.S. on board as co-passengers of the HysIS.

At 9.57 a.m., the rocket lifted off from the first launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, here. A little over 17 minutes later, the HysIS was injected into a precise orbit of 636 km from Earth. The HysIS is an Earth Observation satellite primarily to assist in a wide range of applications in agriculture, forestry, geological environments, coastal zones, among others.

To a question whether HysIS could be used for anti-terror operations, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said ISRO’s job was only to build the satellite, but did not rule out such a possibility. “Our duty is to mainly build the satellite which can precisely identify an object. The usage…we are not bothering. That depends on the users. Right now it is meant for Earth Observation missions. But after seeing the results, may be…but it’s not in our hands,” he said.

All praise for team

Lauding the ISRO team for making HysIS, Mr. Sivan said the satellite was state-of-the-art technology. “The heart of the system required for the HysIS satellite is basically an optical imaging detector chip. This chip has been indigenously designed by Space Application Centre of ISRO and fabricated at our semi-conductor lab at Chandigarh. I am sure that team ISRO can be proud that they are really giving an excellent space asset to India,” he said.

Explaining the one-hour wait for the vehicle to come up on the other side and to insert the commercial satellites, Mr. Sivan said the PSLV first travelled Southward and injected the HysIS around 27 degree South of the Equator.

On the successful injection of the satellites, Mr. Sivan said, “The way it was injected, our customers will be very happy to see their babies are delivered to their homes safely and precisely.”

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