In the heaviest commercial launch since its inception, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on Friday launched five satellites, weighing 1,440 kg for a United Kingdom-based company.
Lifting off from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 9.58 pm, PSLV C-28 launched three identical mini satellites of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), besides two technology demonstrators — CBNT-1 and De-OrbitSail— for Surrey Space Technology Limited into the intended orbits, some 19.21 minutes later.
ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar termed it an “extremely successful mission.” Since it was a “challenge” for the ISRO to accommodate 3-metre high satellites into the existing payload structure of PSLV, the national space agency had specially designed a circular launch adapter and a triangular deck for Friday’s launch. The DMC satellites would eventually be fine tuned into the 647-km Sun Synchronous Orbit.
The launch marked the 30th successful mission of PSLV, also known as ISRO’s ‘workhorse.’ The national space agency had used the XL version for the ninth time.The three mini DMC satellites have been designed for providing simultaneous spatial resolution and high temporal resolution for earth observation.
To be positioned with a separation of 120 degree between them, all the three satellites, each weighing 447 kg, are aimed at capturing any target on the Earth’s surface every day and are expected to help in surveying resources, environment and urban infrastructure, besides its primary aim of monitoring disasters.
While the 91-kg CNBT-1 is an optical earth observation technology demonstration micro satellite built by SSTL, the seven-kg De-Orbit Sail from the Surrey Space Centre is an experimental nano satellite for demonstration of large thin membrane sail and drag deorbiting using this sail.