The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today successfully launched its 37th Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), carrying eight satellites. The PSLV rocket successfully lifted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 9:12 am. The rocket is carrying eight satellites, three of which belong to India, three from Algeria, one from Canada, and one from the US. Over the past few months, the Indian space agency has achieved some remarkable accomplishments, like launching record 20 satellites in one go. But today’s launch is of equal importance for the ISRO as it marks a milestone and was way more challenging and complex than its previous missions. Here is why today s launch by the ISRO is one of the most historic missions ever. Also Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questionedAlso Read - Today's Google doodle is all about India's 'satellite man': Here's all you need to know
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Among the three Indian satellites launched by the PSLV today, one was the Pratham, a satellite designed and built by the students of IIT Bombay. Conceptualized in 2008 with the aim of making IIT Bombay a center for space science and technology research, it took the students close to nine years to make the launch of the Pratham a reality. The Pratham is India s first ever student-led satellite program. Interestingly, the Pratham had once missed its launch deadline four years ago in 2012 due to administrative delays and technical glitches.
The satellite was conceptualized by two students of the Aerospace Engineering department of IIT Bombay, Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay and Shashank Tamaskar, in July 2007. Two years later these students signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ISRO in September 2009, and later extended in 2014. A total of six students from IIT Bombay worked closely with the ISRO in Bengaluru for the pre-launch of the satellite. The Indian space agency not only provided the students with all the resources for testing, but also bore all expenses for the launch. ALSO READ: India s PSLV rocket with weather satellite SCATSAT-1 and 7 others lift off
Measuring 30.5 x 33.4 x 46.6 cm, it weighs 10.12 kg. The satellite is made of aluminum alloy and other space-grade materials, and has an on board computer. It has three monopoles, GPS, magnetometer, sun sensors, magnetorquers and is powered by Li-ion battery and four solar panels. The student-led satellite s mission is four-fold, to acquire knowledge in the field of satellite and space technology, to fully design it by the students of IIT-B, launch it, and measure the TEC of ionosphere above India and Paris.
ISRO s longest and most complex mission till date
Today s launch is historic not just because of a student-led satellite is on board, it is also ISRO s longest and most complex mission till now. What makes this launch challenging is that it is to launch several satellites at different orbits with one rocket. Until now, the Indian space agency has successfully launched multiple satellites at once, but even if multiple satellites were being injected, they were in a sequential manner in the same orbit. This is the first mission of PSLV in which it has launched its payloads into two different orbits. The multiple burn technology was first tested by the ISRO while flying its PSLV rocket on December 16, 2015. ALSO READ: PM Narendra Modi congratulates ISRO on successful launch of PSLV SCATSAT-1
India has successfully put into orbit its weather satellite SCATSAT-1, which took off exactly at 9.12AM. According to the ISRO, SCATSAT-1 is a continuity mission for Oceansat-2 scatterometer to provide wind vector data products for weather forecasting, cyclone detection and tracking services to the users. The satellite carries Ku-band scatterometer similar to the one flown onboard Oceansat-2. The mission life of the satellite is 5 years.