April 28, 2008

India Hails Success of Complicated Rocket Launch

India -- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) placed two domestic and
eight foreign satellites in orbit Monday in what the agency said was the most
complex mission launched as yet by its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The mission
took place from ISRO's second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in
Sriharikota on the east coast of southern India. The rocket flew without its
usual six strap-on boosters carrying ISRO's Cartosat-2A and Indian Mini
Satellite-1 satellites, along with eight nanosatellites built by universities
and research institutions in Canada and other countries.

In a
televised announcement immediately following the launch, ISRO Chairman Gopalan
Madhavan Nair
said the rocket stuck to its path without deviation "and
delivered all the 10 satellites in their intended orbit."

The most
satellites the PSLV has launched in any previous mission was four.

It was the
PSLV's 13th flight and the third in the so-called core alone configuration. The
total payload mass, at 823 kilograms, was the most carried by the rocket in
this configuration.

challenge was that the fourth stage of the rocket should eject the 10
satellites in a programmed sequence, each time reorienting itself," ISRO
spokesman S. Satish told Space News. "It is a complex task."

The primary
payload, the 690-kilogram Cartosat-2A, carries a panchromatic camera capable of
taking black-and-white pictures with a spatial resolution of 1 meter and a
swath width of about 9.6 kilometers, Satish said. The satellite is steerable
along its fore and aft axis as well as from side to side to facilitate imaging
of any area more frequently, he said.

will complement Cartosat-2, launched
Jan. 10, 2007
, "providing more frequent revisit," of specific sites
of interest, Satish said. He declined to comment on whether the satellite is
intended for military use.

The Indian
Mini Satellite-1, weighing 83 kilograms, incorporates new technologies
andminiaturized subsystems, an ISRO press release said. It carries two optical
payloads - a multispectral camera with spatial resolution of 37 meters and a
swath of 151 kilometers, and a hyperspectral sensor with 506-meter resolution
and 129.5 kilometer swath width, the release said.

The data
from the Mini satellite, formerly named Third World Satellite, will be made
available free of cost to developing countries, Satish said.

nanosatellite launches were arranged by Antrix Corp., ISRO's commercial arm.
The weight of each ranged from 3 kilograms to 16 kilograms for a total weight
of about 50 kilograms, the ISRO release said.

Six of the
eight nanosatellites are clustered together with the collective name NLS-4. The
other two are NLS-5 and Rubin-8. The NLS-4 package, assembled by the University
of Toronto, consists of satellites developed by various universities. Two of
them -- Cute 1.7 and Seeds -- were built in Japan. The others, Can-X2,
AAUSat-2, Compass-1 and Delphi-C3 were built in Canada, Denmark, Germany and
the Netherlands, respectively. NLS-5 was built by the University of Toronto and
Rubin-8 was built by Cosmos International, Germany.