Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation placed an electronic intelligence satellite, 436-kg Emisat, in the designated orbit reportedly for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
This will be the first of a series of six or seven satellites which will be built and launched for the strategic purposes, an Isro official said.
Isro would launch two more defence satellites in July or August with its new rocket the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The SSLV will weigh 110 tonnes and launch satellites up to 500 kg. Monday’s rocket, the PSLV-C45, weighed 239 tonnes in comparison. The SSLV can be assembled in 72 hours against 70 days for larger rockets. Six people can assemble the SSLV, which will cost about `30 crore, against more than `400 crore for a regular launch.
Speaking after the successful launch of the PSLV that also carried 28 nano satellites for foreign customers, Isro chairman K. Sivan said it is a special mission for the space agency.
“It was a new four strap-on variant, the vehicle achieved three different orbits and for the first time the PS4 stage was powered by solar panels,” Dr Sivan said. He said a new PSLV team executed Monday's mission.
The PSLV has launched 46 national satellites, 10 built by students from Indian universities and 297 international customer satellites, including those launched on Monday,.
Standing around 44.5 metres and weighing about 239 tonne, the PSLV-C45 carrying the Emisat and 28 nano satellites zoomed off on its one-way trip at 9.27 pm from the Second Launch Pad.
It launched the Emisat at an altitude of about 748 km sun-synchronous polar orbit, 17 minutes and 12 seconds after lift-off. The Emisat's two solar arrays were deployed automatically and the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite.
In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration. The satellite is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement.
Following this, the rocket's fourth stage engines were restarted twice to place the 28 international customer satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit 504 km above the earth, the last one 1 hour and 55 minutes after lift-off.
About 3 hours after lift-off, the fourth stage (PS4) was moved to a lower circular orbit of 485 km after two restarts to establish it as an orbital platform to carry out experiments with three payloads.
The 28 satellites, together weighing about 220 kg, were from Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and the USA. These foreign satellites were launched as part of commercial arrangements.
Isro lines up 3 big ticketlaunches soon
Isro chairman Dr K. Sivan said that 95 per cent of the hardware and 60 per cent of the components of PSLV-C45 that was launched was fabricated outside Isro. The payload was fabricated in an electronics firm in Bengaluru, Dr Sivan said. On future launches, PSLV-C46 would launch the Risat 2B in the middle of May followed by PSLV-C47 carrying the high-precision Cartosat 3 and Chandrayaan II.