ISRO’s workhorse rocket PSLV-38 today blasted off from the spaceport carrying the Cartosat-2 series satellite – a dedicated satellite for the defence forces – along with 30 co-satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
The 28-hour countdown for the launch began at 5.29 am yesterday. It was the national space agency ISRO 40th flight of its highly reliable polar satellite launch vehicle PSLV C-38. The rocket carrying India’s ‘Cartosat-2 Series’ satellite as the principal payload and 30 other nano-satellites on-board.
The 30 nano-satellites include 29 belonging to foreign customers from 14 countries and one domestic payload of a private educational institution. The principal payload Cartosat-2 Series weighs 712 kg, whereas all the 30 nano-satellites together weigh 243 kg, taking the total weight to 955 kg.
To give enough thrust to carry them to a 505 km sun-synchronous orbit, the rocket is being armed with solid strap-on motors. This is the second launch mission for the ISRO this month, coming close on the heels of the recent successful test-flight of the 4-ton class launch vehicle GSLV Mark-III.
As per reports the launch mission was set to be completed in over 23 minutes since lift off, with Cartosat-2 Series satellite being the first to separate from it, followed by the customer satellites one by one. The Cartosat-2 Series is a remote sensing satellite, containing sophisticated high resolution cameras with a mission life of five years.
The previous satellite in the series had a resolution of 0.8 metres and the images it took on India’s neighbourhood had helped New Delhi carry out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control last year, ISRO sources said. The latest remote sensing satellite has a resolution of 0.6 metres, which means it can spot even smaller objects.
The data of Cartosat-2 Series satellites provide vital inputs for the urban and rural planning, coastal land use regulation, road network monitoring and geographical information system applications.