The national space agency ISRO has launched India’s latest earth observation satellite Cartosat-3 successfully this morning. The workhorse rocket PSLV in its C-47 version carried it along with 13 other customer payloads into the intended polar sun-synchronous orbit.
The launch vehicle was ignited at 09.28 hours from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, some 90 kilometres off Chennai. In just under 18 minutes, the third generation, agile, advanced satellite Cartosat-3 was injected at a height of 509 kilometres from the surface of the earth.
The separation of the customer payloads belonging to a US space technology firm followed the Cartosat-3 to get separated from the launch vehicle one after the other. The whole launch mission got over in just under 27 minutes.
For a little bit of number-crunching, today’s mission is the 74th launch mission for the ISRO from the national spaceport at Sriharikota. For the PSLV, this is the 49th flight overall. In total, this is the fifth flight for the national space agency this year.
As the total weight of all the satellites put together is a bit heavy, six solid strap-on boosters are incorporated in the rocket to give the needed extra thrust, which is known as the XL-configuration.
In total, Cartosat-3 is the ninth satellite of its class and is the first in the series of the third generation payloads. Cartosat-3 weighs a little over 1.6 ton and has the capacity to generate 2000 MW power using its solar panels. Its operational life is five years.
The 13 customer satellites have been launched under a commercial agreement with the New Space India Limited, the commercial arm of the ISRO. Twelve of them known as the FLOCK-4P are meant for earth observation and the last one called MESHBED is intended to serve as a testbed. (AIR NEWS )