Sriharikota: India today successfully launched a Cartosat-2 series cartographic satellite and 29 others onboard its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from its launchpad here.
The successful launch and completion of the PSLV C-40 mission comes four months after ISRO’s mission to launch the IRNSS-1H backup navigation satellite on the PSLV C-39 mission ended in a rare failure.
A jubilant A.S. Kiran Kumar, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), announced that the Cartosat-2 satellite, the seventh in the series, and a nanosatellite and 28 commercial payloads were successfully injected into orbit by the PSLV C-40, in the space of 17 minutes after liftoff.
Kumar added that a microsatellite belonging to India would be injected in orbit after about 90 minutes following the re-ignition of the fourth stage. The foreign payload comprised three other microsatellites and 25 nanosatellites from six countries: Canada, Finland, France, Korea, the UK and the US.
Earlier, at the end of the 28-hour countdown, the 44.4-metre-tall PSLV-C40 lifted off at 9:29 am and soared into a cloudy sky from the first launch pad for its 42nd flight.
The opening mission of 2018 was considered crucial for ISRO as the previous PSLV launch had been a setback to scientists. The IRNSS-1H satellite it was carrying could not be placed in the orbit following a snag in the final leg of the mission in August 2017. Specifically, the rocket’s heat shield did not separate during the launch sequence, trapping the satellite inside.
A visibly relieved Kumar, on his final mission as the chief of the space agency, said he was happy to provide the Cartosat-2 satellite as a New Year’s gift for the country. “ISRO is starting 2018 with the successful launch. … All customer satellites (besides Cartosat and the nanosatellite) were released and the microsatellite [was released] after one hour. So far Cartosat performance has been satisfactory,” he said at the mission control room.
Referring to the previous launch, he had confirmed the heat shield snag, adding that an ISRO committee had addressed it and taken steps to ensure the vehicle was ‘robust’ for subsequent launches.