Isro hits a century; launches Cartosat 2 series, 30 others

Isro hits a century; launches Cartosat 2 series, 30 others

India on Friday reaffirmed its space prowess and commercial launch capabilities as it successfully put into orbit its 100th satellite along with 30 other spacecraft, including weather observation Cartosat 2 series, onboard the Polar rocket from here.

This was PSLV's longest-ever mission, lasting about 2 hours and 21 minutes.

With the successful launch, including 28 satellites from foreign countries, by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) put behind a rare failure it encountered four months ago.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Isro scientists for the successful PSLV C-40 mission.

"The launch of the 100th satellite by @isro signifies both its glorious achievements, and also the bright future of India's space programme," he said in a tweet.

A visibly relieved Isro Chairman A S Kiran Kumar, on his final mission as the chief of the space agency, said he was happy to present Cartosat 2 Series as a New Year gift to the country.

He said the previous launch, PSLV-C39 in August last, faced a heat shield problem and an Isro committee has addressed it and taken steps to ensure the vehicle was 'robust'.

Milestone

Today's mission marked a milestone in Isro's annals with a micro satellite, among the three Indian spacecraft launched, becoming the 100th to roll out through Isro Satellite Centre Complex (ISAC).

Besides Isro's communication, weather observation, navigation and experimental spacecraft, the 100 satellites included nano and micro spacecraft made by educational institutions in the country, Kumar, who is retiring later this month, told reporters at the post-launch briefing.

Precise mission

In a precise launch, PSLV-C40 lifted off at 9.28 am at the end of a 28-hour countdown from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, about 110 km from Chennai, and soared into a cloudy sky.

After a perfect flight sequence, each of which was applauded by Isro scientists, the four-stage rocket first injected the 710-kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite for earth observation into 505-km polar sun synchronous orbit, about 17 minutes after lift off.

India's nano satellite and 28 payloads from six countries, including the US and the UK, totally weighing 613 kg were then released into two different orbits one by one in a space of about seven minutes.

In a multi-orbit manoeuvre, micro satellite built by Isro was placed in orbit finally after the PSLV-C40 was brought down to 359.584 kms in polar Sun synchronous orbit by twice re-starting the fourth stage of the rocket, about 105 minutes after lift-off.

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