SRIHARIKOTA: Within five months of the failure of PSLV-C39 rocket, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has come back with a bang, successfully launching 31 satellites in two different orbits with an improved PSLV-C40 rocket on Friday.
Following the 28-hour countdown, the 44-metre tall PSLV-C40 rocket lifted off from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.29 am. During the longest mission undertaken by Isro which lasted for 2 hours and 21 minutes and 62 seconds, the PSLV-C40 rocket placed 30 satellites into a 503 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) while the technological demonstrator Microsat was placed in a 359 km polar SSO after reducing the orbital height by twice restarting the PSLV-C40 fourth stage.
As the previous PSLV mission had failed, Isro scientists waited with bated breath at the mission control room during the flight duration. When the separation of heat shield was announced after 2 minutes and 31 seconds of take-off, there was an added feeling of total success with the scientists applauding the mission heartily.
“Isro has started 2018 in a promising way. After the last launch which was not successful, various committees went through the problem and made some corrective measures required to make the system more robust. This launch ensures that the problem has been rectified”, Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said while speaking to scientists in the mission control room.
Due to the non-separation of the heat shield in the PSLV-C39 rocket, both the fourth stage and navigation back-up satellite IRNSS-1H were stuck inside the shield. After conducting investigation of the data, the scientists have found that non-functioning of the vertical jettisoning system had caused the failure. After rectifying the design, Isro had conducted various simulation tests on the new design.
“This launch is a special one for Isro as we are coming here after a major failure. The performance of the vehicle is excellent as the difference is only 2.5 km which is negligible”, said K.Sivan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and Chairman designate of Isro.
Satish Dhawan Space Centre director P.Kunnikrishnan said that this mission has turned out to be a befitting tribute to the outgoing Isro chairman A.S.Kirankumar and welcoming tribute to chairman designate K.Sivan. “The next mission GSLV-F08 launch campaign is going on very well and the rocket will be launched in next month (February). We are planning three consecutive launches in the second launch pad in addition to the launches in the first launch pad,” he said.