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Isro’s PSLV-C53 places three satellites in orbit

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Thursday successfully launched Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C53, which placed three satellites in orbit from the second launchpad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

This was the second dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Isro. It had on June 23 launched GSAT-24 in its first “demand-driven” communication satellite mission post space sector reforms, leasing the entire capacity on board to Direct-to-Home (DTH) service provider Tata Play.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Isro said that the PSLV-C53 was “successfully launched at 6.02pm.”

The four-stage, 44.4m tall PSLV-C53 rocket that blasted off from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, placed the three Singaporean satellites – DS-EO, NeuSAR and SCOOB-1 – in an intended orbit of 570km.

“It is designed to orbit the DS-EO satellite along with two other co-passenger satellites from Singapore. This is the 55th mission of the PSLV and the 15th mission using the PSLV-core alone variant. It is the 16th PSLV launch from the second launch pad. The mission proposes to demonstrate the utilisation of the spent upper stage of the launch vehicle as a stabilised platform for scientific payloads subsequent to the separation of the satellites,” read the Isro statement.

The PSLV rocket platform is India’s workhorse, with an ability to send relatively lighter satellites to polar orbits — these spacecrafts are on a north-south orbit around the planet, as opposed to a genosynchronous orbit for which Isro uses the heavier GSLV rocket.

Scientists said that after around 18 minutes of the lift-off, the rocket injected the three Singapore satellites into their respective orbits.

Isro chairperson S Somnath also confirmed the launch, and congratulated NSIL for achieving another milestone.

“The rocket placed the three customer satellites in the precise orbit of 570km with a 10-degree inclination. I congratulate NSIL for accomplishing yet another major mission this month itself, the earlier one being the GSAT launch last week. With today’s mission, all these three satellites are placed in the right orbit,” Somnath said after the launch.

The satellites placed in orbit on Thursday were DS-EO – which carries an electro-optic, multispectral payload to provide full-colour images for land classification, serve humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief needs; NeuSAR – Singapore’s first small commercial satellite carrying a SAR (synthetic aperture radar) payload, which is capable of providing images day and night and under all weather conditions; and SCOOB-I satellite – a hands-on student training program from the Satellite Research Centre (SaRC) at Singapore’s NTU School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

After the injection of the satellites, the PS4 – the fourth stage of the rocket – turned into an orbital platform (PSLV Orbital Experimental Module or POEM) to perform in-orbit scientific experiments. Isro scientists said that this was the first time that fourth stage of PSLV is orbiting the earth as a stabilised platform. POEM carries six payloads including two Indian space start-ups: Digantara and Dhruva Space, enabled through IN-SPACe and NSIL


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