SRIHARIKOTA: India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has regained its 'sky' worthiness on Friday successfully placing 31 satellites in two different orbits in one mission. This was one of the keenly followed missions in the aftermath of an expected failure suffered in August last year.
Blasting-off on a beautiful misty morning from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, which about 100 km from Chennai, 44.4 metre tall PSLV-C40 has roared into upper atmosphere with a lift-off mass of 320 tonne as majestically as ever.
The total weight of all the 31 satellites carried onboard was about 1,323 kg, of which the primary payload Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth
observation weighs 710 kg.
There was a loud applause in the control room when PSLV was 2 minutes and 31 seconds into the flight as the payload fairing or heat shield separation was declared successful. The previous launch had failed
primarily because heat shield separation did not take place as the result the satellite got trapped inside the heat shield and failed to deploy.
The launch was a litmus test for PSLV in terms of reliability and robustness. Though PSLV has seamlessly carried out 39 consecutive successfully launches, the last failure has thrown up several questions on the technology being used. In this context, ISRO has taken four-month interval to revisit some of the core areas.
ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar, who will be retiring on January 14 and looked visibly emotional, has credited the success to the entire team. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director K Sivan,
chairman-designate, said the launch is the beginning of the busiest 2018 year.
Meanwhile, the launch also marked the national space agency's foray into small satellite market. For the first time, ISRO has built a microsatellite in the 100 kg class that derives its heritage from IMS-1 bus and flown in as co-passenger. Also, an Indian Nano Satellite-1C, weighing just 11 kg was also built by ISRO as a technology demonstrator.
Further, the multi-burn technology, which ISRO takes lot of pride-in has once again been successfully demonstrated even as representatives from six foreign countries - Canada, Finland, France, Republic of
Korea, UK and USA - look on from the VIP box. 30 of 31 satellites carried by PSLV were first launched into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) while Microsat built by ISRO was placed in a
359 km polar SSO after bringing down the orbital height by reigniting the fourth stage of PSLV twice.
This complex technology now mastered by ISRO offers distinctive advantage to India in attracting foreign