Indian rocket lifts off with two earth observation satellites from UK

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off successfully with two British satellites, NovaSAR and S1-4, from the rocket port here on Sunday night.

The PSLV-CA (Core Alone) version, standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 230.4 tonnes, with thick orange flame at its tail lighting up the night skies rose up at 10.08 p.m. from the first launch pad.

The rocketport here has two launch pads.

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after 17 minutes, 44 seconds following the PSLV lift-off, the two earth observation satellites will be launched into a 583 km sun synchronous orbit.

NovaSAR weighing 445 kg is a S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite intended for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring.

S1-4 weighing 444 kg is a high resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite, used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and for disaster monitoring.

Two satellites aboard the PSLV belong to Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (SSTL), UK, and is carried under commercial arrangement with Antrix Corp Ltd – the commercial arm of ISRO.

Three more satellites to be launched for bandwidth connectivity

ISRO will launch three more satellites to provide high-speed bandwidth connectivity to rural areas as part of the government’s Digital India programme, an official said on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters after the successful launch of two UK satellites by Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) here on Sunday, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said: “The ISRO will launch three more satellites, which together will provide international level bandwidth speed.”

According to Sivan, the satellites are AGSAT 20 (to be launched next year), GSAT 11, and GSAT 29. GSAT 19 has already been launched.

Sivan said that the space agency had planned a series of launches over the next six months.

He said that there will be a rocket launch mission every second week.

Sivan also said earth observation satellites will also be launched in addition to the communication satellites.

He said that the much expected moon mission will happen next January.

“The launch window for Chandrayaan-2 mission is planned between January 3 and February 16, 2019. We are aiming for January 3. We do not expect any delay in the Chandrayaan-2 mission,” Sivan said.

Queried about the certifying agency for the rocket that would carry Indian astronauts Sivan said that the ISRO will be the certifying agency.

He also said that the norms for certification will be drawn with the help of Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Sivan said that the ISRO would like to get the expertise of other countries in this regard.

India on Sunday night successfully put into orbit British earth observation satellites NovaSAR and S1-4 in copybook style.

The two satellites belonged to Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (SSTL), UK.

According to S. Rakesh, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Antrix Corporation Ltd, the revenue from the launch of two UK satellites is over Rs 220 crore.

Queried about the next commercial launch, Sivan said that the next PSLV rocket will carry 30 small satellites from third parties apart from carrying an Indian satellite.

By Venkatachari Jagannathan