Blasting off into a clear morning sky at 9:22 am as scheduled, spewing yellowish plumes from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, the 44.4 m tall 230 tonnes weighing PSLV-C15 injected five satellites into the planned orbit some 17.14 minutes after liftoff.
Led by the latest 694 kg Indian remote sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2B, the core alone version of the PSLV-C15 placed four other satellites in a perfect sequencing into a Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit at a height of about 637 km from the earth surface, after the vehicle’s fourth-stage burnout.
As blips on the computer screens at the mission control centre signalled the completion of its mission path, marking the 16th consecutive successful flight for the PSLV and its eighth successful multiple satellites launch, ISRO scientists led by its chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan sprang up in delight.
The launch, watched by several VIPs’ from Delhi, including noted space scientist M G K Menon, former ISRO Chairman Dr K Kasturirangan and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, among others, capped its uniqueness with the injection of the less than a kg STUDSAT, built for the first time by 35 students of seven engineering colleges from Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The three other auxiliary satellites placed in the near-same orbit included a smaller remote sensing satellite 116 kg ALSAT-2A of Algeria , and two Nanosats. One of them weighing 6.5 kg was built by Space Flight Laboratory, University of Toronto, Canada and the other 1 kg nano-satellite, has been developed by the University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland. These smaller satellites are for testing various satellite technologies.
Radhakrishnan hailed the mission as a “very excellent launch”, while barely two hours later, mission director Kunhikrishnan and other top ISRO officials told reporters that the system performance of all the five satellites in space “are normal so far.”
In fact, students working on STUDSAT at the ground station in Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in Bangalore, have already begun to “receive signals” from their small satellite, said T K Alex, Director of the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore. Signals from ALSAT-2A had also been got at a ground station in Algeria, he added.
At a press conference, Radhakrishnan said the next two immediate launches on the cards from Sriharkota included a communication satellite GSAT-5B carrying transponders in C-band and extended C-Band to augment India’s satellite-based communication and broadcast systems.
It will be flown on board on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle either by September-end or early October 2010.
The second launch from here will be Resourcesat-2, another remote sensing satellite with very high frequency resolution cameras that will be placed in orbit by PSLV-C16 by mid-October this year.