SRIHARIKOTA:There are many things you won’t mind missing in this world, but a night launch by ISRO is not one of them. Pitch dark skies around Sriharikota lit up at precisely 9.58 pm on Friday, providing skywatchers a fantastic view of what a shooting star might look like.
The PSLV-C28 was enduring its 30th launch ferrying its heaviest commercial load yet, a whopping 1,440 kg.
Seventeen minutes later, the first of the five UK-built satellites — DMC3-1 was injected into its targeted orbit. The next two minutes saw the next four — DMC3-2, 3, CBNT-1 and De-OrbitSail injected. All with textbook precision.
All through what we have been conditioned to think of as nail biting nervous moments, the mission control room presented a picture of not just calm, but even a few seeming moments of complacency - a sign of just how far the PSLV mission has come in its 23 years of history. For the technicians who oversaw the mission, it was business as usual.
So much so, that even the successful completion of yet another record breaking mission - with a payload twice as heavy as the last heaviest launch - saw none of the jubilant celebrations that years of Hollywood has conditioned us to expect.
The announcement of the launch’s success led to a brief, muted applause and a four sentence acknowledgement from a smiling ISRO Chairman - A S Kiran Kumar.
“An entirely successful launch for a customer. This time we had to develop a new set of tools to complete the mission,” he said. “Five satellites have been put into orbit,” he said on a mission that saw the ISRO build two completely new platforms, the L-adaptor and the Multiple Satellite Adapter-Version 2(MSA-V2) in order to fit in the three 3m high DMC3 Constellation satellites.