Reinforcing its popularity as India's workhorse launch vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 32nd flight launched six satellites built by Singapore including the first island nation's commercial earth observation satellite from Isro's spaceport at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Shar, Sriharikota, on Wednesday evening.
The launch marked the 50th lift-off from the spaceport. Coincidentally, the island nation is also celebrating its 50th year of independence, and both India and Singapore are marking the 50th year of bilateral cooperation. Leaving behind a huge plume of orange flames, the 44.4-metre PSLV with a lift-off mass of 227.6 tonnes took off majestically and zoomed into the sky as scheduled at 6 pm after a 59-hour countdown. The sky was clear and those present at Shar had the rare opportunity of witnessing even the separation of stages high up in the atmosphere.
Apart from the 400-kg earth observation satellite TeLEOS-1, the PSLV hoisted into space five other micro and nano satellites. The satellites were injected into a circular orbit 550 kms above the earth at 15 degrees to the equator. Singaporean scientists were seen shaking hands at the Mission Control Room as the satellites were injected into orbit. A beaming Isro chairman A.S. Kirankumar congratulated his team for the success.
Isro carries out unique test in space
Isro conducted a unique experiment in space following Wednesday's launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle that carried six satellites from Singapore into orbit. “After injecting all the satellites, we carried out a special experiment to re-ignite the fourth stage (PS4). This aspect will give us flexibility to plan different orbital missions in a single launch vehicle," director Dr Sivan of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre said.
“This particular mission has a special gift for the propulsion fraternity," he said. Isro mission director B. Jauakumar said that the PSLV had launched 90 satellites following Wednesday's success, and was set to score a century soon. Incidentally the PSLV-C29 that was launched on Wednesday was the 11th flight of the rocket in 'core-alone' (without solid strap-on motors) configuration.