The India Space Research Organisation’s workhorse PSLV Saturday injected into multiple orbits nine satellites — including an Earth observation satellite as well as one jointly developed by India and Bhutan.
The mission, PSLV’s 56th flight, is among the longest ones undertaken by the space agency.
The PSLV-C54 rocket successfully placed the Earth Observation Satellite (Oceansat) and eight other customer satellites into sun-synchronous orbits, ISRO said. Calling the mission “unique”, ISRO chief S Somanath said scientists have used two orbit change thrusters in the PSLV rocket to change orbits for the first time.
“I would like to share the happy news of the separation of the remaining eight satellites as expected into the new orbit which is lowered from original orbit of the EOS-06 satellite to perfection that is from 732 kms to 513 kms in a circular sun-synchronous orbit,” he told reporters here.
“PSLV-C54 in its fourth stage has done this orbital change for the very first time using two burn sequences,” he added.
He said among eight satellites, the India-Bhutan satellite was the last to separate.
“Before that, we had the Astrocast 1-4 from Spaceflight USA, and Thybolt 1 and 2 from Dhruvaspace and Anand satellite from PIXEL India Ltd. So, congratulations to all the satellite teams for having their satellites in perfect orbit. All the best to them,” he added.
Referring to the India-Bhutan satellite, Somanath said: “It is a very important milestone in the history of the joint collaboration of Indian and Bhutan scientists.”
The primary satellite, Earth Observation Satellite, is built by ISRO for use by departments and ministries in the Government of India. The Ministry of External Affairs said India assisted in training Bhutanese engineers in satellite building and testing, as well as on processing and analysing satellite data. “This culminated into the joint development of the customized satellite for Bhutan, launched today. The India-Bhutan SAT will provide high resolution images to Bhutan for their natural resources management,” it said, in a statement.
The mass of the Earth Observation Satellite is about 1,117 kgs while the India-Bhutan Satellite INS-2B weighs about 18.28 kgs. Satellite ‘Anand’ is about 16.51 kgs while two Thybolt satellites, totally weigh around 1.45 kgs. The four satellites of Astrocast weighs about 17.92 kgs, ISRO said.