India launches five satellites at one go (Roundup)

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), July 12 (IANS) In a flawless launch, five satellites, including the advanced high resolution cartography satellite Cartosat-2B, were placed in orbit Monday by India’s space agency ISRO with its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket from here.

‘I am extremely happy to say PSLV was a successful flight. All the satellites were injected precisely,’ Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said.

‘We will launch GSat-5, a communication satellite, using the GSLV (Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) and Resourscesat-2, a remote sensing satellite, using the PSLV,’ he added.

The two rockets will fly sometime in October and the PSLV cargo will also consist of two small satellites.

On a clear blue sky day, ISRO’s 230 tonne PSLV – standing 44 metres tall and costing around Rs.80 crore – soared towards the heavens from the spaceport here, about 80 km north of Chennai, together with its cargo weighing 819 kg.

Apart from its main cargo – the Cartosat-2B weighing 694 kg – the other satellites that the rocket put into orbit are the Algerian remote sensing satellite Alsat-2A (116 kg), two nano satellites (NLS 6.1 AISSAT-1 weighing 6.5 kg built by the University of Toronto, the one kg NLS 6.2 TISAT built by the University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, and STUDSAT, a pico satellite weighing less than one kg, built jointly by 35 students of seven engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Twenty minutes after blast off, the rocket first released the Cartosat-2B followed by Alsat-2A and the three small satellites.

This was the first successful launch after Radhakrishnan took over as ISRO chairman last year.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who was present at the launch, congratulated the ISRO scientists on the ‘perfect launch’ and said: ‘ISRO makes the country proud.’

Immediately after the ejection of the satellites, the Spacecraft Control Centre at Bangalore, with the help of ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command) Network of stations there and at Lucknow, Mauritius, Bearslake in Russia, Biak in Indonesia and Svalbard in Sweden, monitored their health.

Built to last for five years, the Rs.175 crore Cartosat-2B is India’s 17th remote sensing satellite. It will augment ISRO’s remote sensing data services along with Cartosat-2 and 2A launched earlier.

The satellite’s imagery can be used for preparing detailed forest type maps, tree volume estimation, village level crop inventory, town/village settlement mapping and planning for development, rural connectivity, canal alignment, coastal land form, mining monitoring and others.

‘The investment in the satellite will be recovered over its lifetime. This is not purely a commercial satellite as the bulk of the images transmitted by Cartosat-2B will be used by the Indian government. The images are also sold to overseas parties for a fee,’ K.R. Sridhara Murthi, executive director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, told IANS.

‘With the launch of Cartosat-2B, ISRO will have 10 remote sensing satellites in orbit – IRS 1D, Resourcesat 1, TES, Cartosat 1, 2 and 2A, IMS 1, RISAT-2, Oceansat 1 and 2,’ S. Satish, ISRO director for publications and public relations, told IANS.

Apart from ISRO earning foreign exchange by launching the Algerian satellite, the other interesting part of the Monday’s launch is StudSat, the pico satellite built by the students.

‘This is the first time private colleges were involved by ISRO in developing a satellite. The StudSat costed around Rs.55 lakh. Small satellites will be made for specific projects,’ the principal of the R.V.College of Engineering told IANS.

Going forward, he said the college is planning to focus on building propulsion systems for satellites.

The student satellite project was headed by Jharna Majumdar, Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

The college has built a separate ground station to receive signals from StudSat at an outlay of Rs.45 lakh.

According to ISRO officials the college ground station has started receiving signals from StudSat.

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