The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully completed the PSLV-C40 mission, which carried the Cartosat-2 series satellite to orbit on Friday morning from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The whole process of placing the satellites in two orbits will take a total of two hours and 21 minutes, the longest mission for the PSLV so far.
The PSLV-C40 was carrying a total of 31 satellites, including the Cartosat-2 series satellite, which was the primary payload, and 30 other co-passenger satellites. ISRO's initial 28-hour countdown had begun on Thursday morning at 5.29 am IST, stating a launch time of 9.29 am today. This, however, was postponed by a minute to 9.30 am after a proximity analysis.
Based on information provided by ISRO, the Cartosat-2 series satellite is the fourth satellite of the series and intends to be used for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation and various other Land Information System (LIS) as well as Geographical Information System (GIS)-based applications.
The co-passenger satellites were comprised of one microsatellite and one nanosatellite from India along with three microsatellites and 25 nanosatellites from six other countries — Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and USA. Of the 25 nanosatellites hosted by other nations, 16 of them belong to the US.
Apart from the Cartosat-2 series satellite, India's other two satellites included a microsatellite named Microsat and a nanosatellite named INS-1C. While the Microsat is India's small technology demonstrator satellite in the 100 kg class, the INS-1C, on the other hand, carries a Miniature Multispectral Technology Demonstration (MMX-TD) Payload, data from which will essentially be utilised for topographical mapping, vegetation monitoring and cloud studies.
The Cartosat-2 series satellite, which is incidentally ISRO's 100th Indian satellite launch, was the 42nd flight for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). ISRO's previous launch, the PSLV-C39 mission on 31 August, ended in failure when the launch vehicle's heat shield failed to separate after reaching orbit.
Congratulating his team after the successful launch, AS Kiran Kumar, who recently stepped down as the Director of ISRO, termed the launch success as a New Year's present to the people of India. Dr K Sivan, the new Chairman of ISRO also heaped praise on his team for beginning the year on a success, a year which should be an important one for India.