Chennai/Sriharikota: India on Friday successfully launched weather observation satellite ‘Cartosat 2’ Series and 29 other spacecraft onboard its dependable Polar rocket from Sriharikota.
The successful orbiting of the satellites by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-40 comes four months after the Indian space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) mission to launch backup navigation spacecraft IRNSS-1H onboard PSLV-39 ended in a rare failure.
A jubilant ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar announced that the ‘Cartosat 2’ Series satellite, the seventh in the series, a nano-satellite and 28 commercial payloads were successfully injected into the orbit one by one by the PSLV C-40, in the space of about 17.33 minutes since lift-off.
A micro satellite of India would be orbited after about 90 minutes following the re-ignition of the fourth stage, Kumar said.
International customer satellites are three micro and 25 nano-satellites from six countries -- Canada, Finland, France, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Earlier, at the end of the 28-hours countdown, the 44.4 metre tall PSLV-C40 in its 42nd flight, lifted off at 9.29 am and soared into a cloudy sky from the first launch pad.
The opening mission of 2018 was considered crucial for ISRO as the previous PSLV launch came as a setback to scientists as the backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H could not be placed in orbit following a snag in the final leg of the PSLV-C39 mission in August, 2017.
The heat shield of the rocket did not separate in the final leg of the launch sequence, trapping the satellite in the fourth stage of the rocket.
A visibly relieved Kiran Kumar, on his final mission as the chief of the space agency, said he was happy to provide ‘Cartosat 2’ Series as a New Year gift for the country.
"ISRO is starting 2018 with the successful launch... all customer satellites (besides Cartosat and nanosat) released and the microsat after one hour. So far ‘Cartosat performance is satisfactory," he said at the mission control room.
Referring to the previous launch, he said it had heat shield problem and an ISRO committee had addressed it and taken steps to ensure the vehicle was 'robust'.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed ISRO scientists for the successful PSLV C-40 mission, saying the moment signifies the agency's achievements as well the country's "bright future" in space programme.
My heartiest congratulations to @isro and its scientists on the successful launch of PSLV today. This success in the New Year will bring benefits of the country's rapid strides in space technology to our citizens, farmers, fishermen etc.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 12, 2018
The launch of the 100th satellite by @isro signifies both its glorious achievements, and also the bright future of India's space programme.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 12, 2018
Benefits of India's success are available to our partners! Out of the 31 Satellites, 28 belonging to 6 other countries are carried by today's launch.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 12, 2018