ISRO's fully-commercial PSLV satellite launch on Sunday: All you need to know

The PSLV rocket will liftoff from a launchpad in Sriharikota once the launch window opens at 9:45 PM.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is launching its heavy-weight rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), into orbit on Sunday, 16 September carrying two foreign satellites, according to a press release.

"The 16 September rocket launch will be a fully commercial launch,” K Sivan, Chairman of ISRO, told IANS.

“The rocket will be carrying only the two foreign satellites."

When and where is the launch?

The rocket will blast off from ISRO’s First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, on 16 September.

The launch window opens at 09.45 pm, and will stay open till o1.45 am on Monday.

What is ISRO launching?

In the PSLV’s payload will be two British satellites, NovaSAR-1 and S1-4, made by Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited (SSTL) in the UK, a small satellite manufacturer.

ISRO engineers hoisting the nozzle-end of the PSLV-C42's 'first stage' onto the launch pedestal. Image courtesy: ISRO

ISRO engineers hoisting the nozzle-end of the PSLV-C42's 'first stage' onto the launch pedestal. Image courtesy: ISRO

Together, the pair of satellites will weigh 889 kgs, and will be released into a sun-synchronous orbit roughly 580 kilometres above the ground, an SSTL report says.

Once a space engineering spin-off from the University of Surrey, SSTL is now run largely by the Airbus Group’s Defence and Space division, which builds and operates SSTL’s small satellites.

What is the NovaSAR-1 satellite for?

NovaSAR-1 is a technology demo mission satellite developed by Airbus.

It will test SSLT’s ability to provide earth observation and disaster management data for bidding customers.

NovaSAR's communication frequency falls under the ‘S band’, a microwave region in the electromagnetic spectrum between 2 and 4 GHz in frequency. This is the most widely-used band for mobile broadband, weather monitoring and ship radars worldwide.

Engineers testing NovaSAR's functionalities at Airbus's Portsmouth facility. Image courtesy: Airbus

Engineers testing NovaSAR's functionalities at Airbus's Portsmouth facility. Image courtesy: Airbus

The satellite is built with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capabilities – a superior kind of radar imaging technology that produces 2D and 3D visuals of landscapes. It also doesn’t rely on daylight to capture its high-resolution visuals.

NovaSAR’s imaging prowess will be directed at monitoring forest, land use patterns and ice cover over time. It will also keep an eye out for potential floods and other looming natural disasters, according to SSTL’s press release.

What is the S1-4 satellite for?

It’s companion for the launch, the S1-4 satellite, is a high-resolution Earth observation satellite.

It can capture images of multiple different targets in a single pass above an area, the release says. All this clicking away at an impressive image resolution of under one meter.

The satellite is designed for use in urban planning, land use and agriculture, as well as natural resource and disaster monitoring.

Where can I watch the launch?

While the launch cannot be viewed by public inside the space centre, it will still be visible near the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary just outside Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.





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