India Monday successfully launched ASTROSAT, its maiden dedicated space observatory aimed at undertaking a detailed understanding of the universe, and six foreign satellites, including four from the US, onboard PSLV-C30 from the spaceport here.
This was the first time that India launched US satellites, belonging to a San Francisco-based company, under an agreement signed with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation “ISRO”.
In a textbook launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, ISRO’s trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle “PSLV”, in its 31st flight, injected ASTROSAT and the six co-passengers into orbit about 25 minutes after a perfect lift-off amidst cheers from scientists led by the space agency’s Chairman Kiran Kumar.
The launch was witnessed by Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Choudhry, who later congratulated the ISRO scientists and said the space programme was “exactly going as per our present Prime Minister’s vision and plan” and what he has said in the United States yesterday.
With a lift-off mass of about 1,513 kg, ASTROSAT was first injected into a 650 km orbit by PSLV-C30, followed by the other six satellites in the space of about three minutes.
International customer satellites that piggybacked the PSLV C30 were the LAPAN-A2 of Indonesia meant for maritime surveillance using Automatic Identification System (AIS), and maritime monitoring nanosatellite from Canada, NLS-14 (Ev9), which uses ‘next generation’ AIS.
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