SRIHARIKOTA: The PSLV, often hailed as a trusted workhorse, touched a new milestone of its 50th mission on Wednesday when it placed earth observation satellite RISAT- 2BR1 and nine other foreign satellites in orbit, ISRO chairman K Sivan said here.
The space agency head, hailing the versatility and unbeatable performance of the PSLV for over the past two decades, lauded its 50th mission as "historical."
"I am extremely happy to declare the 50th PSLV vehicle, C48 successfully injected RISAT-2BR1 and nine customer satellites precisely into the 576 km orbit," he said.
Tracing the journey of PSLV, which has five variants, he said the payload capacity was initially about 860 kg and it went up to 1.9 tonnes subsequently.
It has lifted 52.7 tonnes to space, of which 17 per cent corresponded to customer satellites, he said.
This mission was special for another reason as well, since it marked another major milestone which was "the 75th launch from the spaceport of India," the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, he noted.
Sivan recalled and lauded the contributions of the past and present leadership behind PSLV's successful journey in its eventful history of 26 years.
Dubbing the PSLV a "wonderful vehicle," he said Dr Srinivasan conceptualised and configured it, while G Madhavan Nair made it operational.
Also, there were a whole lot of others, including R V Perumal, Ramakrishnan and George Koshy, whose rich contributions propelled the PSLV to great heights, he said.
The ISRO chief said RISAT-2BR1, though a very advanced and complex satellite, was built in a short time and congratulated the team for its good work.
"Definitely, we have had many successes. At the same time, we have a large number of missions to do. I am sure team ISRO, as usual, will rise to the occasion and make every mission a grand success," he said amid loud applause.
Sivan said PSLV has gone 'all over space', placing satellites in orbits, including polar and the trusted vehicle was behind Chandrayaan 1 and the Mars Orbiter Mission.
"Now we are going to send a satellite to the sun's orbit", he said, adding that ISRO was looking at more launches next year with PSLV.
"Next year we have a series of PSLV missions. We also have GSLV launches. Then we also have the maiden mission of SSLV (Small Satellite Launch vehicle) next year. Like that many missions lined up for next year", the ISRO chief said.
Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, S Somanath hailed the 50th mission, saying "PSLV has hit gold today."
In commemoration of the milestone event, a book, "PSLV- 50," chronicling the various missions, the satellites and the leaders behind it was released by Sivan.