CHENNAI: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set for dedicated commercial mission - PSLV-C42 - on Sunday night carrying two international customer satellites. It is the first launch after a gap of five months and is said to be a prelude for busiest months ahead for the national space agency.
PSLV-C42 mission in its Core Alone configuration, is scheduled to launch two satellites S1-4 and NovaSAR from United Kingdom. In this configuration, the rocket will be without six solid strap-on motors. This version was first flown in April 2007 and is the lightest version of PSLV. Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of ISRO has been contracted by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) of UK for launching their two satellites.
Both these satellites are planned to be launched from first launch pad in a 583-km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, told Express that this launch will begin the busiest months ahead. “The plan is drawn to launch 22 missions in 2019. There will a launch in remaining three months of this year as well. In October, GSLV Mk-III D2 carrying GSAT-29 will be launched followed by PSLV-c43 and in November last week or December first week,GSAT-11, which was recalled earlier this year,
will be launched by Arianespace,” he said.
To a query, Sivan said the five months gap was due to some corrective measures undertaken by the space agency. “The anomaly in GSAT-6A, with which signal link got lost soon after launch on March 29, has identified a problem in our solar panel deployment. We recalled GSAT-29 for the same reason. Now, we have improved our separation systems. Also, all the immediate launches involved are new and high-throughput satellites, which takes time,” he said.
PSLV is the well proven workhorse launch vehicle of India. In 25 years, it has successfully launched 52 Indian and 237 international customer satellites. PSLV has time and again demonstrated its capability of launching multiple satellites in a single mission. In addition, its upper stage engine restart option has further enabled launching satellites in different orbits in a single mission.
Launching multiple satellites in a single mission by PSLV has increased from three
satellites in 1999, 10 in 2008, 20 in 2016 to the most recent momentous PSLV-C37 mission in 2017 which launched a record 104 satellites in one go. PSLV was also instrumental in several landmark missions of ISRO, including Chandrayaan-1 and the Mars Orbiter Mission.