In yet another success story, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday successfully put into orbit defence imaging satellite “Microsat R” for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and students-built nano-satellite “Kalamsat”.
ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), carrying these satellites, blasted off from the first launchpad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 11.37 pm on Thursday at the end of a 28-hour countdown.
In a copybook launch, the 44-metre tall, four-stage PSLV-C44 soared into the clear and starry night sky majestically and injected the 740-kg Microsat-R into orbit precisely 13 minutes and 30 seconds later.
After the successful launch, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said: “The mission is a grand success. The PSLV rocket precisely injected the Microsat R in its designated orbit.”
Sivan said, this PSLV rocket is not an another PSLV rocket as lot of innovation have been incorporated in it like the use of aluminium tank in the fourth stage and using it as an orbital platform for the five-member student team and Space Kidz India built nano-satellite Kalamsat.
The ISRO chief further said the the Indian space agency is ready to help all Indian students to conduct space experiments while ISRO would do the research for the benefit of the nation.
Sivan said the Microsat R is a 700kg satellite for DRDO.
“There is increased demand for satellites from strategic sectors. About six-seven satellites are planned to be built,” a senior official said.
The GSAT-7 and GSAT-7A are the two dedicated military communication satellites, while all other earth observation and communication satellites launched earlier were of dual use—civilian and defence.
The PSLV is a four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.
In its normal configuration, the rocket would have six strap-on motors hugging its first stage.
But the 44.4-metre tall rocket that lifted off on Thursday had two strap-on motors and its configuration is designated as PSLV-DL.
At about 100 minutes after the lift-off, the rocket’s fourth stage was switched on again for few seconds before it was again cut off.
Finally, at about 103 minutes after the rocket left the earth, the fourth stage began its role as an orbital platform carrying Kalamsat at an altitude of 450 km.
Kalamsat is a payload developed by students and Chennai-based Space Kidz India and the first to use the rocket’s fourth stage as an orbital platform.
According to Srimathy Kesan, Founder CEO of Space Kidz India, Kalamsat is a 10cm cube, 1.2 kg communication satellite with a life span of two months.
Built at a cost of around Rs 12 lakh, the Kalamsat is an experimental satellite for studying the communication system of nano satellites, which can be useful in many fields, predominantly disaster management.
Saying that ISRO's highest priority at present is Gaganyaan, Sivan said the human space mission would be done by December 2021. "ISRO has taken a major responsibility for placing a man in space by an Indian vehicle launched from Indian soil. It will happen by December 2021."
Announcing that the ISRO is working on a new launch vehicle meant for smaller satellites - SSLV (small satellite launch vehicle), Sivan said first launch of the vehicle would happen this year.
Congratulating students for working on Kalamsat, Sivan urged students to bring science experiments to the space agency. "ISRO is an Indian property and open to all students of the country. I request you bring your science experiments, and plug in to PS4. We will launch and you don't worry. You do science research and make science oriented," he added.
(With agency inputs)