PSLV soars, places 5 satellites in orbit

The Indian Space Research Organisation scored yet another success with its workhorse PSLV placing into orbit the remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2B and four other satellites after a textbook liftoff from the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here on Monday morning.

The launch vehicle with its payloads soared into the skies at the pre-determined time of 9.22 am with Isro chairman K. Radhakrishnan and his team cheering from the nearby mission control. They were not just happy but also looked relieved as their spirits too lifted with the successful launch, coming just three months after Isro suffered a major setback when its GSLV-D3, launched using an indigenous cryogenic engine for the first time, crashed into the Bay of Bengal.
Dr Radhakrishnan, briefing reporters after the launch, said: “We had an excellent flight, the 16th successive successful flight. It injected precisely the five satellites. The entire Isro team is behind the success.”
In an apparent reference to the failed GSLV mission on April 15, he said Isro scientists were inspired to work hard “especially after a serious problem that we faced”. He also listed out future space missions, the most exciting being the one to the moon. Isro plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2013 as a prelude to its maiden manned mission to send two Indians into space.
Cartosat-2B is an advanced remote sensing satellite built by Isro, the latest in the Indian remote sensing satellite series and the 17th in this series. Cartosat-2B is mainly intended to augment remote sensing data services to users of multiple spot scene imagery, with 0.8 metre spatial resolution and 9.6 km swath in the panchromatic.
Cartosat-2 and 2A, two Indian remote sensing satellites in orbit, are currently providing such services.
A set of four satellites including Studsat built by students of seven engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Alsat from Algeria, two nano satellites from Canada and Switzerland, and a pico (very small) satellite called Oceansat-2 accompanied Cartosat-2 on its trip to orbit.
Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahuluwalia and former Isro chief K. Kasturirangan also witnessed the launch. “It has been a wonderful experience. Isro has made the country proud,” Dr Ahluwalia said, congratulating the scientists after the perfect takeoff.
Besides launching 17 Indian satellites, the PSLV has also launched 22 foreign satellites during 1994-2009 into polar sun synchronous, geosynchronous transfer, highly elliptical and low earth orbits and has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility.
One important modification compared to the previous flights of PSLV is the use of dual launch adopter to carry two large satellites, Isro sources said. Soon after injection into the orbit and separation from the PSLV C-15 fourth stage, the two solar panels of Cartosat-2B will be automtically deployed, the scientists said.

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